Posted in 19th Century First Line Friday Victorian

First Line Friday: A Conspiracy in Belgravia

From the Prologue… Thank goodness for a blatantly obvious murder. From Chapter One… This is an account of a remarkable man named Sherlock Holmes. BOOK DESCRIPTION “Being shunned by Society gives Charlotte Holmes the time and freedom to put her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. As “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, she’s had great success helping with all manner of inquiries, but she’s not prepared for the new client who arrives at her Upper Baker Street office. Lady Ingram, wife of Charlotte’s dear friend and benefactor, wants Sherlock Holmes to find her first love, who failed to show up at their annual rendezvous. Matters of loyalty and discretion aside, the case becomes even more personal for Charlotte as…

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Posted in 19th Century Civil War First Line Friday

First Line Friday: Gone with the Wind

Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were. GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell “Since its original publication in 1936, Gone With the Wind—winner of the Pulitzer Prize and one of the bestselling novels of all time—has been heralded by readers everywhere as The Great American Novel. Widely considered The Great American Novel, and often remembered for its epic film version, Gone With the Wind explores the depth of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the red hills of Georgia. A superb piece of storytelling, it vividly depicts the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction. This is the tale of Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled, manipulative daughter…

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Posted in 18th Century First Line Friday French Revolution

First Line Friday: The Glass-Blowers

“If you marry into glass,” Pierre Labbe warned my mother, his daughter Magdaleine, in 1747, “you will say good-bye to everything familiar, and enter a closed world.” THE GLASS-BLOWERS by Daphne du Maurier “The world of the glass-blowers has its own traditions, it’s own language – and its own rules. ‘If you marry into glass’ Pierre Labbe warns his daughter, ‘you will say goodbye to everything familiar, and enter a closed world’. But crashing into this world comes the violence and terror of the French Revolution, against which the family struggles to survive. Years later, Sophie Duval reveals to her long-lost nephew the tragic story of a family of master craftsmen in eighteenth-century France. Drawing on her own family’s tale of tradition and sorrow, Daphne…

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Posted in 15th Century First Line Friday Tudor

First Line Friday: The Tudor Bride

“The grey-green sea looked hungry as it lapped and chewed on the English shore, voracious, like the monsters mapmakers paint at the edge of the world.” THE TUDOR BRIDE by Joanna Hickson “The thrilling story of the French princess who became an English queen, from the best-selling author of The Agincourt Bride. Perfect for fans of The White Queen. Even the greatest of queens have rules – to break them would cost her dearly… King Henry V’s new French Queen, Catherine, dazzles the crowds in England but life at court is full of intrigue and her loyal companion, Mette, suspects that the beautiful Eleanor Cobham, protégée of the Duke of Gloucester, is spying for him. Catherine believes herself invincible as she gives birth to an…

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Posted in Belle Époque First Line Friday

First Line Friday: Paris Time Capsule

“The parcel was wrapped in brown paper and tied with an unblemished silk ribbon.” PARIS TIME CAPSULE by Ella Carey “New York–based photographer Cat Jordan is ready to begin a new life with her successful, button-down boyfriend. But when she learns that she’s inherited the estate of a complete stranger—a woman named Isabelle de Florian—her life is turned upside down. Cat arrives in Paris to find that she is now the owner of a perfectly preserved Belle Époque apartment in the ninth arrondissement, and that the Frenchwoman’s family knew nothing about this secret estate. Amid these strange developments, Cat is left with burning questions: Who was Isabelle de Florian? And why did she leave the inheritance to Cat instead of her own family? As Cat…

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Posted in 20th Century First Line Friday WWII

First Line Friday: 5/26/17

“Half an hour before Diana Snyder died, she tidied up her desk in the typists’ office of the Cabinet War Rooms.” MR. CHURCHILL’S SECRETARY by Susan Elia MacNeal “London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and remarkable gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords…

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Posted in 20th Century Cold War First Line Friday

First Line Friday: 5/19/17

“Rebecca Hoffmann was summoned by the secret police on a rainy Monday in 1961.” EDGE OF ETERNITY by Ken Follett In Fall of Giants and Winter of the World, Ken Follett followed the fortunes of five international families—American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh—as they made their way through the twentieth century. Now they come to one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the 1960s through the 1980s, from civil rights, assassinations, mass political movements, and Vietnam to the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution—and rock and roll. East German teacher Rebecca Hoffmann discovers she’s been spied on by the Stasi for years and commits an impulsive act that will affect her family for the rest of their lives. . . ….

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Posted in First Line Friday

First Line Friday: 5/12/17

“Nora’s first thought when they brought her the body was that it could not be her husband’s.” THE GOOD PEOPLE by Hannah Kent “The fires on the hills smouldered orange as the women left, pockets charged with ashes to guard them from the night. Watching them fade into the grey fall of snow, Nance thought she could hear Maggie’s voice. A whisper in the dark. “Some folk are born different, Nance. They are born on the outside of things, with a skin a little thinner, eyes a little keener to what goes unnoticed by most. Their hearts swallow more blood than ordinary hearts; the river runs differently for them.” Nóra Leahy has lost her daughter and her husband in the same year, and is now…

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Posted in First Line Friday

First Line Friday: 5/5/17

“I often marveled after I went to Pendorric that one’s existence could change so swiftly, so devastatingly.” BRIDE OF PENDORRIC by Victoria Holt “Favel Farrington meets Roc Pendorric on the idyllic Mediterranean island of Capri, where she was raised and lives with her father. Roc sweeps her off her feet, taking her from her home by an emerald sea to the ancient family home of the Pendorrics, in Cornwall. His sister and her family await them with open arms, welcoming young Favel. She is the much anticipated Bride of Pendorric, a name that amuses and flatters her. The castle is beautiful in its way, but the atmosphere is foreboding. Roc’s twin nieces begin watching her carefully; even the stones in the courtyard seem to have…

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Posted in Ancient Egypt First Line Friday

First Line Friday: 3/17/2017

“While we waited for the news to arrive, we played dice.” CLEOPATRA’S DAUGHTER by Michelle Moran “The marriage of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is one of the greatest love stories of all time, a tale of unbridled passion with earth-shaking political consequences. When the lovers choose to die by their own hands, their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome; only two–the ten-year-old twins Selene and Alexander–survive the journey. Delivered to the household of Octavian’s sister, the siblings cling to each other and to the hope that they will return one day to their rightful place on the throne of Egypt. Recounted in Selene’s youthful and engaging voice, Moran introduces a compelling cast of historical characters: Octavia, the emperor Octavian’s kind and compassionate…

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Posted in 18th Century America American Revolution First Line Friday

First Line Friday: 3/10/17

“The mansion on the hill shone like a lighthouse.” ALEX & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz “1777. Albany, New York. As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival those of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball. Still, Eliza can barely contain her excitement…

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Posted in 19th Century Austen First Line Friday

First Line Friday: 03/03/2017

“Sometimes anger is a living thing.” THE PURSUIT OF MARY BENNET by Pamela Mingle “A tale of love and marriage, society balls and courtship, class and a touch of scandal, Pamela Mingle’s The Pursuit of Mary Bennet is a fresh take on one of the most beloved novels of all time, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Growing up with four extraordinary sisters—beautiful and confident Jane and Elizabeth, and flirtatious and lighthearted Lydia and Kitty—wasn’t easy for an awkward bookworm like Mary Bennet. But with nearly all of her sisters married and gone from the household, the unrefined Mary has transformed into an attractive and eligible young woman in her own right. When another scandal involving Lydia and Wickham threatens the Bennet house, Mary and Kitty…

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