First Lines Friday

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Caidyn will be in blue.
Chantel will be in purple.

“A health to the bride!” Sir John Seymour smiled and raised his goblet as the company echoed his toast.

Jane sipped her wine, watching as her new sister-in-law blushed prettily. Edward seemed besotted with his new wife. At seventeen, Cathrine was a very comely girl, a year younger than he. Jane had been surprised at how practiced she was at the art of coquetry, and how warmly the men were looking at her. Even Father seemed to be under her spell.

I would have kept going but holy shit that was mindnumbing. And, it went on in that same vein. So, obviously not a great start to the book, but it’s interesting me because, well, it’s Tudor!

And it’s a relatively recent release.

It is…

Jane Seymour, the Haunted Queen

If you’ve stuck around this blog long enough, you know that Weir and I have an iffy relationship. The past two books I’ve read by her, I’ve hated. So, this book is one of those that I’m a little worried about. I want to like it, but I have a feeling that something bad could happen with this book.

Also, it got a bit better after that opener. At least for me.

That spring, rain fell in great sweeping gusts that rattled the rooftops. Water found its way into the smallest cracks and undermined the sturdiest foundations. Chunks of land that had been steady for generations fell like slag heaps on the roads below, taking houses and cards and swimming pools down with them. Trees fell over, crashed into power lines; electricity was lost. Rivers flooded their banks, washed across yards, ruined homes. People who loved each other snapped and fights erupted as the water rose and the rain continued. 

Welcome back to Chantel picks a book she wants to read but will not actually start reading it. 

Seriously though, I have no idea why I continue to be haunted by a reading slump. My TBR is very large (not nearly as large as Caidyn’s) and there are so many books I want to read. So many books and I’m sad that my brain isn’t into it. 

However, I present another book that I would love to read and I want to share it with you all. 

It is…

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
The Great Alone cover

I think everyone knows about our love of Book of the Month, and if not you should follow us on Instagram @bwreviewsblog. That was smooth wasn’t it? Anyway, this was a book I got as an add-on because it sounded incredibly interesting to me. Honestly, the first paragraph of this book is gripping and I already love the writing. I’m eager to see if I still enjoy the book. 

That is if I ever get around to reading it. 

Talk to us!

What do you think of the two books we chose? Would you read them?

The Lazy Historian’s Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII by Jillianne Hamilton

The Lazy Historian's Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII



Copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. This did not effect my rating.

At long last, I’ve found a book that I can give for a recommendation to people who want a good starting point in Tudor history. It’s a lot of history and a lot of years, along with a whole bunch of names as people go in and out of favor.

This is a very small book. It ends on page 173 and then there are about twenty pages after it of family trees, sources/book recommendations for each wife and the general topic of Henry’s wives, and a glossary of important people and places. All of those things are very important for a handbook like this. It’s an easy reference to draw from.

The life of each wife is covered from birth to death. A lot of their lives somewhat tangle together, but Hamilton keeps them very separate. In each section, she keeps to the specific wife without getting into too many things about the next one. That’s appreciated because you can turn to a specific section and you know it’s going to be only about that one wife rather than somewhat about her and also waxing on about a later wife.

At times, I kept wanting a little more or wishing there had been more ideas explored — especially in Catherine Howard’s section — but I had to take a step back to remind myself that this is just a handbook. It’s not a tell-all about that wife. It’s nailing down the important historical things and not every little detail. If I want all the little details, then I’d go to the back to see any book recommendations that were there.

When I glanced back at the sources used/book recommendations, part of me cringed seeing Alison Weir included. But then there were so many other books included — some I had read, some I hadn’t, but most I had heard of in some way — that it gives a better picture of the topic.

The humor really worked in this book. Sometimes I thought it was because I’ve already read a lot about Henry’s wives, but then I also think that it just worked. If you’ve wanted The Tudors, it plays on that and, at times, vocalizes the things that you were thinking while watching it.

I highly suggest this book to those who are Tudor history beginners or who want a refresher on what can be a very dense topic. Thanks to the author for providing me with a copy!