First lines are a big deal. Novel writers spend inordinate amounts of time painstakingly crafting the perfect opening sentence.
While I do like a good first line, the first chapter is way more important to me. I always read a novel’s opening chapter via the online bookstore’s “preview” feature. I’ll buy the book only if that first chapter grabs me.
Today, on the last day of our InspyRomance birthday bash, I want to give a shout out to some of my favourite opening chapters in contemporary Christian romance.
I hope you don’t consider my little rundowns to be spoilers since they are how the stories begin and not how they end.
But to be on the safe side, here’s a warning. Watch out: the beginnings of these novels will be revealed!
Cathe Swanson has a unique opening in her book Always and Forever, from the Glory Quilts series. Penny Anderson, who dreams of being an exclusive bridal gown designer, is having her home remodelled. Holding a bolt of expensive white satin fabric, she opens a door and slams into a workman who’s poised on a ladder.
He gets a nosebleed, which drips all over Penny’s white satin, which cost her $50 a metre. She’s torn between concern for the injured guy and saving that precious bridal fabric from the spreading stain.
Of course, the man whose nose she might have broken is none other than her childhood friend, now all grown up. He’s waited years for her to see him as more than the little boy she once knew.
I loved how this chapter set the stage for the rest of the book. Intrigued? Check out Always and Forever here.
Another contemporary Christian romance whose first chapter has stuck with me is Accepting Elijah’s Heart by Naima Joseph. Reina Blackwell is barely holding it together after the sudden death of her husband. Left on her own with a small baby, she’s struggling to cope with crippling grief, first-time motherhood, and a crisis of faith.
She takes a cab home from the grocery store after a hellish time shopping for household supplies with her screaming baby. When she unloads her shopping and the taxi drives off, she realizes to her horror that she’s left her baby in the cab.
Her handsome neighbour notices the commotion and steps in to do what he can to help.
Talk about a gripping opening! My jaw was on the floor when I read this first chapter of Accepting Elijah’s Heart. I could feel Reina’s panic.
Denise Hunter’s Riverbend Gap has a literal cliffhanger in the opening chapter. Sherriff’s Deputy Cooper Robinson is on his way to a family get-together to meet his brother’s new girlfriend when he comes across a woman trapped in a car that’s balancing over a cliff edge.
Katelyn Loveland swung off the road to avoid hitting a deer, but now she’s teetering over a big drop, in danger of plunging to her death. A handsome stranger shows up and does everything he can to call for help. As they wait for rescuers, he keeps her company, doing his best to talk with her and keep her distracted so she doesn’t freak out.
They form a powerful bond, and both are horrified to discover that Katelyn is Cooper’s brother’s new girlfriend.
This captivating start leads into a story that’s full of heartwrenching dilemmas.
Through the Blaze has my favourite opening chapter from the books I’ve written. Lisa Meland is attending her best friend’s bridal shower, but she is not having fun. Still hurting after the breakdown of her own marriage, Lisa does her best to bite her tongue as the guests spew out the sorts of shallow platitudes and advice Lisa found useless when her marriage hit the skids. She speaks her mind, to the shock and embarrassment of everyone there, shortly before learning that her own daughter is also leaping into a whirlwind marriage.
Which opening chapter in contemporary Christian romance would you consider outstanding? Let us all know by commenting below.
I’ll pick two winners from the comments posted by Monday, March 20, and they’ll get an ebook copy of Through the Blaze or if they already have it, one of my other books.
Commenting also counts as entry into the prize draw for the InspyRomance Birthday Bash. Until the end of today, you still have a chance to win one of our fabulous book bundles. You can leave a comment on any of the posts that have been published on this blog between February 14th and today.
International entries are welcome, too!