I’m in the midst of edits for The Stolen Crown, so I’ve been a bad blogger lately. Anyway, because some time ago, I mentioned some of my favorite closing lines from novels, I thought I’d do the same for opening lines I like. As was the case then, my favorite writers are overrepresented, but I at least did find one historical novel to round off the bunch:
Jane Austen, Persuasion:
Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch Hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and respect, by contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any unwelcome sensations, arising from domestic affairs changed naturally into pity and contempt as he turned over the almost endless creations of the last century; and there, if every other leaf were powerless, he could read his own history with an interest which never failed.
Charles Dickens: Bleak House:
London. Michaelmas term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln’s Inn Hall.
[Yes, I cheated with two lines there.]
Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son:
Dombey sat in the corner of the darkened room in the great armchair by the bedside, and Son lay tucked up warm in a little basket bedstead, carefully disposed on a low settee immediately in front of the fire and close to it, as if his constitution were analogous to that of a muffin, and it was essential to toast him brown while he was very new.
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations:
My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip.
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre:
There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.
Anne Tyler, Back When We Were Grownups
Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.
Barbara Pym, A Glass of Blessings:
I suppose it must have been the shock of hearing the telephone ring, apparently in the church, that made me turn my head and see Piers Longridge in one of the side aisles behind me.
Anne Tyler, Searching for Caleb:
The fortune teller and her grandfather went to New York City on an Amtrak train, racketing along with their identical, peaky white faces set due north.
P. D. James, Unnatural Causes:
The corpse without hands lay in the bottom of a small sailing dinghy drifting just within sight of the Suffolk coast.
Reay Tannahill, The Seventh Son:
“Sapphires for my bride-to-be and a severed head for the king my brother,” said Duke Richard cheerfully.
Just a few: I’m sure I’ll think of some more later that I wish I had included. Got some you want to add?