Great Opening Lines…

The Lantern Bearers (Sutcliff novel)

The Lantern Bearers (Sutcliff novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Opening lines in a novel are often referred to as ‘the hook’ – something that will hopefully make a reader interested in a work and  keep them reading it. I thought I would share here the opening lines from some of my favourite novels.

1:   The Lantern Bearers (Roman Britain Trilogy)

Aquila halted on the edge of the hanging woods, looking down. Below him he could see the farmstead under the great, bare swell of the downs: the russet-roofed huddle of building, the orchard behind, making a darker pattern on the paleness of the open turf, the barley just beginning to show its first tinge of harvest gold, the stream that rose under the orchard wall and wandered down the valley to turn the creaking wheel of the water-mill that ground their corn.

2: The Last of the Wine by Mary Renault.

When I was a young boy, if I was sick or in trouble, or had been beaten at school, I used to remember that on the day I was born my father had wanted to kill me.

3: Ross Poldark

It was windy. The pale afternoon sky was shredded with clouds, the road, grown dustier and more uneven in the last hour, was scattered with blown and rustling leaves.

POLDARK SAGA 1: Ross Poldark; 2: Demelza; 3: Jeremy Poldark; 4: Warleggan; 5: The Black Moon; 6: The Four Swans; 7: The Angry Tide; 8: The Stranger from the Sea; 9: The Miller’s Dance; 10: The Loving Cup

Bella Poldark, A Novel of Cornwall: 1818-1820

4: The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

Mae Mobley was born on a early Sunday morning in August, 1960. A church baby we like to call it. Taking care of white babies, that’s what I do, along with the cooking and cleaning. I done raised seventeen kids in my lifetime. I know how to get them babies to sleep, stop crying, and go to the toilet bowl before they mamas even get out of bed in the morning.

Portrait of George Eliot by Samuel Laurence

Portrait of George Eliot by Samuel Laurence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5: Middlemarch by George Eliot

Since I can do no good because a woman,

Reach constantly at something that is near it.


Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. Her hand and wrist were so finely formed that she could wear sleeves not less bare of style than those in which the Blessed Virgin appeared to Italian painters; and her profile as well as her stature and bearing seemed to gain the more dignity from her plain garments, which by the side of provincial fashion gave her the impressiveness of a fine quotation from the Bible,—or from one of our elder poets,—in a paragraph of to-day’s newspaper. She was usually spoken of as being remarkably clever, but with the addition that her sister Celia had more common-sense.

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