Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (October 17)

First Chapter
Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My opening this week comes from The Solitary Child by Nina Bawden which is one of my own collection purchased because the author was a childhood favourite of mine with Carrie’s War and The Peppermint Pig being much read and treasured books on my shelf. Then I entered the world of book blogging and saw several of her books being reviewed on Heavenali’s blog So naturally, I purchased a few for myself including The Ruffian on the Stair which I read a couple of years ago – if you haven’t discovered Heavenali’s wonderful blog, I fully advise checking out her wonderful reviews.


The Solitary Child is a story of violent death and suspicion. Harriet becomes engaged to James Random, a gentleman farmer, monied but unpretentious. But his first wife, Eva, had died in what were called ‘unforgettable circumstances’; James was charged with murdering her and was acquitted. Breaking the news to her mother of her engagement was Harriet’s first ordeal: facing Maggie, the solitary child who was James’ and Eva’s daughter was more complex. Suspicions are not always cleared away by a verdict of ‘not guilty’. Here the suspicion which Harriet found surrounding her new home was so oppressive it distorted the relationships of the people involved into a nightmare climax. Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Chapter One

“What a way to hear!” said my mother. Her heavy handsome face was patchy with cold, the wide sensual mouth tightened into a kind of denial. She spoke as if I had subjected her to some appalling indignity.
I avoided her eyes. “You must be frozen,” I said.
I opened the cupboard door and jerked at the flex of the electric fire. The pile of notes and newspapers that lay on top of it slid out into the room. Half-heartedly I tried to push them back and, failing, left the door jammed open. I felt her eyes on my bent neck as I knelt to plug in the fire.
I said brightly, into the stillness “How long have you been waiting? I’m sorry I wasn’t in. It must have been a beastly journey. Would you like a cup of tea?”
The words trailed emptily between us. She did not answer. I lit a cigarette at the bar of the fire and the sparks spluttered as the paper caught.
The issue, could be evaded no longer. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I should have told you before.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So although this book was first published in 1976 I think it eloquently captures a mother-daughter relationship and even after that lengthy intro we still have to find out what it was that she heard!

But, what do you think? Would you keep reading? Or perhaps you have a favourite childhood author who also wrote adult novels – give me your suggestions.


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

25 thoughts on “First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (October 17)

  1. I had completely forgotten about Carrie’s War. I read it a long time ago probably for school. Strange how some books stick and others don’t. I’m going to have to try and track it down now.

    That is a great opening. I hope you’re enjoying.


  2. That’s an intriguing opening, Cleo. I could feel the tension, and the dialogue sounds really authentic. Now I want to know what the big news is! I hope you’ll post a full review.


  3. I would keep reading – though the blurb ruined the mystery of what “she should have told her mother before”. I love reading about the complexities of mother/daughter relationships. I seem to have missed out on Nina Bawden as I’ve never read any of her work.


  4. That writing is great, really made me smile — “Her heavy handsome face was patchy with cold, the wide sensual mouth tightened into a kind of denial.” LOL


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