Just for fun this morning, let’s talk first lines. I love how authors can set a scene, introduce a character, or jump-start the plot on page one of their stories. Here are some examples from our March and April releases along with my commentary—enjoy feeling like you’re flipping to chapter one while browsing in a bookstore.
If the line is really short, I included a few for context. (Because I’m writing this post, and I get to make the rules.)
Destined for You by Tracie Peterson
“Gloriana Womack was not one to brook nonsense. If her twenty-five years had taught her anything, it was that eight-year-old boys were constantly in motion.”
Thoughts: This opener does a great job of making the main character relatable—haven’t we all had that thought at some point when observing kids?—and draws you into a scene.
Braced for Love by Mary Connealy
“Kevin Hunt came awake with a snap. A metallic clink. He didn’t need to figure out more.”
Thoughts: The first page goes on to describe more of this suspenseful moment, and the action and danger immediately makes me invested.
Hours to Kill by Susan Sleeman
“The brutal killer put a knife to her mother’s throat.”
Thoughts: The stakes don’t get higher than this! This first chapter isn’t told from the main character’s perspective, but the events set a suspenseful plot in motion, and it grabs you from the start.
My Dear Miss Dupré by Grace Hitchcock
“Willow Dupré twirled on the ice, spreading her arms and guiding her body around the other skaters on the frozen lake of Central Park.”
Thoughts: In just a few words, the author shows us a character in motion and identifies the season and setting, before getting into some fun character interactions.
A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy
“Hardly anyone was buried at South Park Street Cemetery anymore, and yet Ottilie Russell had spent more time there during her twenty years than any other soul living in Calcutta.”
Thoughts: The emotional impact of this one is paired with some intrigue—who is this character, and why has she spent so much time in this cemetery in Calcutta?
All That Really Matters by Nicole Deese
“I used to marvel at the way my Great Mimi’s arthritic fingers would pinch her eyeliner pencil and trace a perfect stroke of midnight black along her upper lash line.”
Thoughts: Character voice is present right away in this first-person story, and in a book about beauty and identity, starting with an older woman putting on makeup is a great shifting of expectations.
Night Fall by Nancy Mehl
“Patrick walked next to the railroad tracks as he searched for an open boxcar. November was still especially cold and rainy, and a sudden gust of wind grasped him in its icy fingers.”
Thoughts: The use of description here puts the readers right in this foreboding scene, and there’s a suspicion that something isn’t going to go well here, given the genre.
Winning the Gentleman by Kristi Ann Hunter
“After twenty-two years, Aaron Whitworth should have been aware of his closest friend’s idiocy. Yet it had never crossed his mind Oliver could do something so utterly foolish.”
Thoughts: A bit of humor in the opening works well, as well as showing a strong reaction from the hero to some terrible decision that the reader will want to read on to discover.
A Patchwork Past by Leslie Gould
“Five months ago, planting a large garden on the property of Plain Patterns seemed like a good idea to Jane Berger.”
Thoughts: This line does a great job calling back the cover design, and drawing the reader into Jane’s world, both the quilt shop and the new garden, and why her idea might not have been good after all.
Let’s hear from you! Pick up a book nearby and let us know the first line in the comments.