Book Beginnings on Fridays

Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted at Rose City Reader where you share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

This was first brought to my attention by

Daisy and Stacy are both reading:



Who would have thought it? That captivity could be liberty? That service could be freedom?

In 1548 four little girls, all called Mary, set sail from Scotland for France. Five years old, they are already primed for the work of their lifetime – to serve another little girl called Mary.

Mary, Queen of Scots.

Thirteen years later, the five return to an unwelcoming Scotland, and as Queen Mary struggles to take control of her turbulent country, her famous ‘Four Marys’ are at her side.

The queen finds herself set on the path of violence and disaster which will lead eventually to her tragic end. But what of the other four Marys, bound inexorably to their mistress’ fate?

Of the four, it is Mary Seton who serves the queen longest, and whose loyalty is most severely tested. Through a maze of shadows – of treachery and even witchcraft – how can she find her own way ahead?



Summer 1548, off the coast of Scotland

‘I hate the queen! I hate her! I wish she were dead!’


Daisy’s thoughts on the beginning:

This is, in my opinion, a good way to start the story. You can see the pent-up feelings of a child coming to the surface, as the five-year-old Mary Seton innocently makes this statement that grown adults could have been beheaded for. Instantly, this simple statement makes the reader fear that there will be repercussions to the careless child. Already, almost without apparently trying, the author is evoking an emotional response from the reader.

Stacy’s initial thoughts:

I felt much sympathy for all 5 little girls– the 4 Marys and the young Queen– to be forced to be away from their parents, siblings, home and everything that was familiar at such a young age (5 years old), and not getting to see any of them again for 13 years. How traumatizing that must have been! How cruel! I cannot imagine doing that to any child, even one much older. I know that times were different, but a child is a child, and I am sure, that a 5 year old 600 years ago, needed their parents, the security of a familiar environment and loving family just as much as a 5 year old now.

Stacy is also reading:



Tom MacMillan has a problem. He’s a philandering, self-confessed coward caught in the middle of World War Two as an American fighter pilot.
Meanwhile British nurse, Molly Masterson, has a problem. She can’t stand the Yanks- particularly Yank fighter pilots. And, Tom is the epitome of what she detests most in Americans.
Shoved together by circumstances, the two forge a love fired by a desperate need to escape the horrors of war. Molly becomes Tom’s first true love, a reason to fight his way home after every mission and to escape the Nazis after he is shot down over Belgium.
But life is not fair, and war is not choosy when dishing out death. Who does a person become on


Tom MacMillan woke with a start. He couldn’t remember his dream, but the twist in his stomach put his nerves on edge. His combat tour as a replacement pilot with the Twenty-Sixth Fighter Group had begun the day before.

My First Thoughts:

I am thinking: Uh-oh. Not good. A fighter pilot with jitters. Is he going to put everyone at risk due to his fear? Or will he somehow get out of his duty, and put others at risk that way?

The Friday 56

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted at Freda’s voice.

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

Since I don’t want to spoil any book I am planning on reading myself, I decided to start doing page 56, or 56% on Kindle of one that I have already read and own. I am starting alphabetically on my bookshelf, and next in line is:

Page 56:

“A little after midnight, the two orderlies became seriously alarmed (I ought to mention that one was recently from Cork, and the other from Kerry), and reported to the general that a conversation was being carried on in an unknown language by two persons in the woods beyond, and whom they verily believed to be spies of the enemy. The general was not a little perplexed at this intelligence, for the better informed orderly declared, that while one shouted in very bad Irish, the other seemed to answer him in Dutch. The general listened attentively for a minute or more, when the noise was again heard. It turned out, however, that the intruders were only a pair of owls, who had perched in some trees near by, and were exchanging hootings for their own entertainment.”

The above sample is from the thin little book “Siege of Washington, D.C.” by F. Colburn Adams.

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Originally published in 1867, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The author states at the beginning of the story “A true and authentic story written expressly for little people”– which I am not certain whether he meant children or the common person; after I read the book, I do think it had a double meaning as to imply both, for the story was simple enough that a child of middle school age could understand, while highlighting the complete incompetence of politicians in Washington,  that those in Washington seem to think we “little people” could never possibly understand how things work there, so leave the thinking to them. (Not much has changed, has it?)

The blurb on back says, ” You, my son, have heard, and perhaps read, how Rome was once saved by a goose. There were, as you know, my son, a great many geese abroad during the siege of Washington; but it was not through any act of theirs that the city was saved. As I love you dearly, my son, so is it my first desire to instruct you correctly on all subjects in which the good of our great country is concerned. Before concluding my history of this remarkable siege, I shall prove to your satisfaction that Washington was saved, and the fate of the nation determined, by a barrel of whisky.”

I think that Mr. Adams probably took literary license for the sake of comedy to magnify some of the stupidity of what happens in our nation’s capital, but even if 100% true, I would not be surprised, since it seems that one of the criteria to serve our country in that capacity seems to be ineptitude. Also, his tale illustrates, that in nearly 150 years, it still is the same in that by and large, nincompoops run things and make the laws. As wise King Solomon said: ” What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (New International Version Ecclesiastes 1:9).