I have blogged about first lines before – best, worst, would you keep reading, etc. One time, it resulted from my daughter (another voracious reader) bringing home a bag of random books and we sat around the dining table after dinner and read the first lines/paragraphs of several of the books. The motivation for this post came from a book I just started, which has a funny first line that gives a very good impression of the writing style and the language the characters use:
Talia Hibbert, Take a Hint, Dani Brown: The moon was high and full, the night was ripe for witchy business, and Danika Brown had honey on her tit.
Another recent read – Julie James, Something About You – started with this: Thirty thousand hotel rooms in the city of Chicago, and Cameron Lynde managed to find one next door to a couple having a sex marathon.
Other Julie James books have good openers, too. The Thing About Love, opened with this: Three minutes after the plane took off from the runway, FBI Special Agent John Shepherd knew he was doomed if he didn’t act immediately. It Happened One Wedding starts with: Well-trained in the art of reading the subtle cues of body language, FBI Special Agent Vaughn Roberts was quite certain this date was going down in flames.
Let’s look at some of the Eight Ladies’ super fabulous opening lines:
Jeanne’s The Demon Always Wins: It was poker night in the Ninth Ring of Hell and the demon Belial was in trouble.
Jilly’s The Seeds of Power: Priincess Christal Betony Iris Hollin of Larrochar had been schooled from childhood always to put her royal duty before her personal wishes.
Justine’s His Lady to Protect: “To Napolean,” Nate Kinlan, Earl of Rainsford and intermittent agent for His Majesty’s Home Office, lifted his snifter of brandy and uttered what he hoped was a convincing lie.
Nancy’s Third Husband’s the Charm: When Captain Percival Carlyle, Earl of Granston, stepped onto the Royal Victoria Dock in east London, the pain in his temples eased for the first time in days.
Elizabeth Hoyt generally has good opening lines.
Duke of Desire: Considering how extremely dull her life had been up until this point, Iris Daniels, Lady Jordan had discovered a quite colorful way to die.
Duke of Pleasure: Hugh Fitzroy, the Duke of Kyle, did not want to die tonight, for three very good reasons.
Duke of Sin: There are few worse places for a housekeeper of impeccable credentials to be caught than kneeling on her employer’s bed.
Here are some other good ones:
Mary Jo Putney, Thunder & Roses: Winter mists swirled about as they scaled the wall that enclosed the estate.
Nora Roberts, Island of Glass: A man who couldn’t die had little to fear.
Jayne Ann Krentz, Family Man: Technically speaking, Luke Gilchrist was not a bastard.
Which one intrigues you enough to read more?
Duke of Sin and The Demon Always wins…. Those would be my first choices! 😀
The Demon Always Wins by our own Jeanne Oates Estridge is a great read. I highly recommend it. I’m a big fan of modern retellings of old stories.
All of those first lines are great. And because I make buying decisions based on the first line or the first paragraph, it’s a good reminder to work on that first line until it’s perfect. Nice assortment, Michille!
I should have included your first line from Betting on Hope because it’s fabulous, too. “A cream-colored envelope bearing a law firm’s return address could not be bringing good news.” Love it.
They’re all really good, I think. (And thanks for the reminder about how important they are.)
I often make book buying decisions on the first line or first paragraph as Kay said. Unless it’s an author I’m familiar with and already know I like his/her writing style and stories.