First Line Friday #33

The book I’m featuring today is “A Civil Contract” by Georgette Heyer who died in 1974. This author essentially established the historical romance genre and, in particular, regency romance. Since I’m in the process of editing the draft of my second regency romance, I wanted to read another book from the expert. Her writing style is different from authors today, but her books are a pleasure to read and there is much historical romance writers can learn from her novels. This book is not a Christian book, but it is a clean read, along the lines of Jane Austen.

Screenshot 2018-05-09 09.59.45

And the first line is…

“The library at Fontley Priory, like most of the principal apartments in the sprawling building, looked to the south-east, commanding a prospect of informal gardens and a plantation of poplars, which acted as a wind-break and screened from view the monotony of the fen beyond.”

Now a days, writers are discouraged from starting a book with descriptive writing about the scenery. However, this sentence does give you a sample of the beauty of Heyer’s writing and her ability to create a scene through proper use of the English language. There is no denying she was a gifted writer and it’s clear why she was enjoyed by many.

Now it’s your turn. First Line Friday is something every reader can participate in. Pick up a book near you. Type the first line in the comments, along with the title of the book and the author. Then, if you’d like, check out the books other readers have featured in the comments on this blog and on the Hoarding Books link at the end of this post. You might find a book you would like to purchase simply by reading the first line. You can also click on the title of the book above and it will take you to Amazon so you can see what the featured book is about, check out the reviews other readers have shared, and purchase it if you’d like.


Published by

Anneliese Dalaba


15 thoughts on “First Line Friday #33”

  1. Happy Friday!

    My first lines come from a book I will be reading later this month, The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan.

    There are good anniversaries, and bad anniversaries . This was a bad one and Suzanne chose to mark the moment with a nightmare.

    Have a great weekend and Happy Reading!😊📚💖

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read non-Christian Fiction as well, and I have heard a lot of good things about Georgette Heyer, in fact, I have three of her books on my shelf, waiting to be read. Starting books with a descriptive sentence is no issue with me. Maybe its because I love some of the ‘old-fashioned’ books.

    I’m taking a break from sharing a First Line this week, as I can’t decide which book to include, and its getting a bit late in the day here, but thought to visit and look at your lovely blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The book I’m sharing on my blog is Unblemished by Sara Ella but I’m currently reading called The Road Home by Beverly Lewis. I shared the first line last week so I’ll share the first line of chapter 22 where I am right now: ” The next morning, after the four o’clock milking and a nice hot breakfast, Mimi suggested Harley take a lemon pound cake over to Abram Mast’s for his birthday.” Cake anyone? 😛 (I actually don’t like lemon pound cake though lol).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such a beautiful cover!

    My first lines come from Melt For You by J.T. Geissenger

    “Top Ten Reasons Why The Holidays Suck”

    I’m featuring Casey L. Bond’s Unlocked on my blog today! Be sure to stop by to catch the first lines of this fairy tale retelling!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love Georgette Heyer! I like her Regency romances more than her other historical novels, but her contemporary mysteries were also a lot of fun. Well, they are set in the 1930’s, so they were contemporary when she wrote them …

    You make an interesting point about modern novels not starting with description. They don’t, but authors still need to ground readers in the scene – we need to know where the book is set. This opening line might be long, but we do know where we are, and the fact there are several apartments in the Priory gives us an idea of scale, and of the class of the narrator. Clever!

    On my blog today, I’m sharing the very long first line from another Regency romance, A Defense of Honor from the new Haven Manor series by Kristi Ann Hunter. It was one of those read-in-a-day books 🙂

    I’m currently reading Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh, a romance about a woman wanting to reconnect with the mother who abandoned her years ago. But the first line is from the viewpoint of the hero:

    He shouldn’t be here.
    A diner in some little tourist town in Michigan was no place for Grady Benson, but here he was.

    Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I personally do not like description as a beginning to a story, but Georgette Heyer is so great, she can do whatever she wants and it still sounds amazing. I do agree with you though about the importance of allowing the reader to see the setting of the story as quickly as possible. I enjoyed reading your opinion and the books you shared. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!


    1. I was disappointed with the ending. (spoiler alert) The heroine simply accepts that her husband loves her, but it will never be the the all-encompassing love his first infatuation was for the girl he was not allowed to wed. He treasures his wife and knows he’s better off with her. He would not want the other girl now. His love for his wife was comfortable. She was “comfortable” to have in his life. He tells her he loves her, finally, but the reader knows he will never lose his head over her. She doesn’t make his heart race. The wife accepts this and never admits to her undying love for her husband, although she has loved him from the start. It just left me feeling sad. The writing was beautiful. The character development was satisfying. But the story was sad.

      I hope you weren’t planning on reading this novel because I think I just ruined it for you. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s