Hi, I’ve been reading the Barbara Britton’s new release Providence and I’m really enjoying it. In hopes that you might like it too, here are the first thirteen lines.
Jerusalem, 849 B.C. Hannah waited mere feet from the prophet of Israel, shaded from the Jerusalem sun by the sprawling branches of a tamarisk tree. Sweat beaded beneath her head covering, a result of the mid-summer heat, her nerves, or both. A crowd hung back, blocking the Horse Gate and lining the city’s massive stone walls. They had come to see the man of God heal the lame and the cursed. Hannah bore a curse since birth. For seventeen years, she had been unable to taste or smell. Her ears were but a flap of skin with no slope, no lobe. Her father said it was a punishment from God for an ancestor’s crime. As the chief priest, he should know. She grasped her father’s velvet robe as the prophet’s hands slid over a young boy’s leg. The boy had lain in his father’s arms not two feet from Hannah and her father and brother, his limb nothing but a boiled bone with skin. She shook with anticipation as she witnessed sun-toasted flesh, fat as a baby’s cheek, grow on top of the boy’s decomposed leg. What will it feel like when the prophet touches my nose, my lips, my ears?
Providence’s opening does a lot of things that a good start to a story should. It begins in the middle of an event. That event is anchored. We know when and where it happened. The scene is described with lots of sensory impressions and we are clearly in the main character’s head. We, readers, are learning how the main character thinks and what she values. Also the first thirteen sentence end with an intriguing question.
What other qualities do you think a good opening needs?
If you’d like to check out more of this novel, you can follow these links.