Wednesday, July 13, 2011

First Words - The Story of Beautiful Girl

I have read the first paragraph of more books than I have read books in their entirety! There is something that makes or breaks a first impression with a potential new read that is cushioned within the first line, paragraph or even page. The way a book begins sets up everything that comes after. Often, when I have finished a book, I will go back and read the first page again, with hindsight, and it is a great experience!
At the end of the night that would change everything, the widow stood on her porch and watched as the young woman was marched down her front drive and shoved into the sedan. The girl did not fight back, bound and tied as she was, nor did she cry out into the chill autumn rain, so surely the doctor and his attendants thought they had won. They did not know, as the car doors slammed shut, the engine came on, and the driver steered them down the muddy hill toward the road, that the window and the girl in the backseat had just defied them right under their noses. The widow waited until the taillights reached the bottom of the drive, then turned and entered her house. And as she stood at the foot of the staircase, hoping they'd show mercy to the young woman and worrying about the wherabouts of the runaway man, the widow heard the sound the doctor hadn't been seeking. It was the sound that would always connect her to the girl and forever make her remember the man. It was the sweet, deep breaths of a hidden person. A sleeping stranger. A baby.

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
It is 1968. Lynnie and Homan are locked away, forgotten, in an mental institution. Deeply in love, they escape, and find refuge in the farmhouse of Martha, a retired teacher and widow. But the couple is not alone - Lynnie has just given birth to a baby girl. When the authorities catch up to them, Homan escapes, and Lynnie is caught. Before she is forced back into the institution, she whispers to Martha: "Hide her." And so begins the 40-year journey of Lynnie, Homan, Martha, and baby Julia - lives divided by seemingly insurmountable obstacles, yet drawn together by a secret pact and extraordinary love.

I can't wait to take this one up to the cottage in a few weeks! - Bronwyn

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