As anyone who has read my favorite books posts knows, I’m a big fan of Jennifer Crusie.
She is one of *the best* at opening lines.
Here, from Faking It, which I recently re-read and was struck again by how awesome this line is:
Matilda Goodnight stepped back from her latest mural and realized that of all the crimes she’d committed in her thirty-four years, painting the floor-to-ceiling reproduction of van Gogh’s sunflowers on Clarissa Donnelly’s dining room wall was the one that was going to send her to hell.
Seriously, how much great character development is there in that bit? Okay, it is a tad long by current standards, but it works so very, very well.
Here’s her start to Welcome to Temptation:
Sophie Dempsey didn’t like Temptation even before the Garvey’s smashed into her ’86 civic, broke her sister’s sunglasses, and confirmed all her worst suspicions about people from small towns who drove beige Cadillacs.
And finally, Getting Rid of Bradley (’cause that all I could easily put my hands on). This last one I’m fudging a smidge. Since it’s dialog, I’m including the bits before and after the tag because it’s all one thought, even if it’s not one sentence.
“I’ve never known anyone who was stood up for her own divorce before,” Tina Savage told her sister. “What’s it feel like?”
Yeah, she’s a pro.
I did find several Regencies with excellent first lines (Julia Quinn rocks here too!), but decided to try to stick with a more contemporary setting. Think I’ll save those for another post.
So, what are your favorite first lines? And I do mean line, I looked at my SEP (Susan Elizabeth Phillips) and didn’t fare so well (okay, I only found one book unpacked and on my shelf and none on my kindle so it was a very small sample).
Would love to see some more examples. I’ll add them to this post and credit them back to you too.
From my pal Suzie Ivy :
I LOVE all the authors you’ve mentioned. Mine goes way back but it’s always been my favorite. Linda Howard’s Mackenzie’s Mountain “He needed a woman. Bad.”