Wednesday, June 9, 2010

First Lines

I never tire of this subject. First lines are little jewels holding the promise of endless treasure. Here are some of my recent favorites. (I admit, even when I buy books I have no time to read, I always dive into the first couple of pages.)

Hannah's List, Debbie Macomber: "I'm not a sentimental guy."

Bulletproof Bodyguard, Kay Thomas: "Sweat ran down Marcus's back and sides."

Married by Morning, Lisa Kleypas: "Anyone who had ever read a novel knew that governesses were supposed to be meek and downtrodden."

Promise Me Tonight, Sara Lindsey: "Seconds always seem inconsequential."

Original Sin, Allison Brennan: "No one could hear Moira's piercing screams; they were in her head, as trapped as she was by the ancient demon who was luring the man she loved to his death."

The God of the Hive, Laurie R. King: "A child is a burden, after a mile."

A Secret Affair, Mary Balogh: "Hannah Reid, Duchess of Dunbarton, was free at last. Free of the burden of a ten-year marriage, and free of the endlessly tedious year of deep mourning that had succeeded the death of the duke, her husband."  (Yes, it's more than one line. You're lucky I stopped here. I could quote the entire book. It's Mary.)

So, what has captured your attention lately? Isn't it wonderful when the promise of a perfect first line is kept by the rest of the book?


Angi Morgan said...

"At about 0530 that very morning, Ken “Wildcard” Karmody became a terrorist.
It wasn’t a career move he would normally have made, especially on such short notice, with no time to prepare properly. But seeing how it was a direct order, he had no choice but to embrace it completely." Suzanne Brockmann, OUT OF CONTROL

It's one of my all time favorite first three paragraphs because it show SOOOO much about this hero. I have many more, but this was the handiest.

As always, great blog.

Gillian Layne said...

Oh, Angi, you make me want to grab my copy of Hot Target off the shelves. I love Brockmann.

And I can't wait for Hill Country Holdup in September! I hope I can snag a signed copy at Nationals. :)

Keely Thrall said...

Angi - LOVE Wildcard - LOVE him.

Gillian - I'm mad that I'm at work and not among my books so I could leave quote after quote after quote.

First lines are some important. When they are great, awesome, cuz you know right away whether to keep reading. When they are bad, awesome again, cuz you know you don't have to waste anymore time on it.

When the first line of a book just sort of sits there, then you're in trouble. Keep reading in hope? Give up and maybe miss something better develop as it goes along? Dilemma-city!

Here's to books for memorable opening lines and the writers who create them!!

Gillian Layne said...

Keely, you're right. Middle of the road is hard. I always give the author the benefit of the doubt and bull through at least the first chapter.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope your work day went well. :)

Terry Stone said...

One of my favorite happens to be: "Cook cannot complete dinner preparations, my lord. There appears to be a dead body in the kitchen." by none other than yourself. And I am not just saying this as lip service-I think those two lines set the entire tone of your book-you know it's going to be witty, funny, and a touch sarcastic.

And I have waiting to be read this one "Her chances of a decent marriage were about to be dashed-and all because of a ferret." Tempt Me at Twilight by Lisa Kleypas. Doesn't that just promise a rollicking good time?!

Gillian Layne said...

Terry Jo, I just love ya! You put me to blushes. Thank you!

And I am utterly captivated by Lisa Kleypas. The consistent quality of her work--and her ability to mix humor and deep emotion--keeps me buying every one of her releases.

Gillian Layne said...

Here's what Shea said (and thank you Shea, for pointing out my comment exclusions):

I do have a favorite opening. It's literary, but it's soooo good, I bought the book because of it.

‘The morning express bloated with passengers slowed to a crawl, then lurched forward suddenly, as though to resume full speed. The train’s brief deception jolted its riders. The bulge of humans hanging out of the doorway distended perilously, like a soup bubble at its limit.’

A FINE BALANCE by Rohinton Mistry

See you in Orlando. -- Shea

Shea Berkley
Shattered -- 2010 GH YA Finalist
Three-time Golden Heart® finalist

Renee said...

Wow. These are fantastic.

I love first lines. Here's one from a book that I'm getting ready to read.

"1989 WAS NOT A GOOD YEAR TO FALL IN LOVE--at least not in South Africa, and certainly not with a white man."

Are you getting ready for Nationals? Wish I were going this year. I'll be cheering for you.

Clarissa Southwick said...

I can't think of any right now, but I loved reading these opening lines. Thanks for posting them.

Lee McKenzie said...

"By the time she was eight, Mackensie Elliot had been married fourteen times."
Nora Roberts, VISION IN WHITE (book one in the Bride Quartet)

Promises a fun, light-hearted read, and no one keeps a promise like Nora Roberts.

I've loved, loved loved the first three books in this series and I'll be first in line to buy the fourth when it's released this fall.

Gillian Layne said...

Thanks for stopping by, ladies. Great lines!