First Lines Friday: May 8, 2020

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is first-lines-friday.jpg

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!

First Lines:

“The girl sits alone in impenetrable darkness. Shivering, she wraps her arms around her tiny body and wraps her arms around her tiny body and buries her face in the collar of her wool cardigan. Out here on the building steps, she tries to remember exactly what her mother had told her. Did she say how long she’d be gone?”

Can You Guess the Book?

Hint: It takes place during WWII in Romania.

The First Lines Friday Book Is:

Title: The Girl They Left Behind

Author: Roxanne Veletzos

Publication Date: October 9, 2018

Page Length: 353 pages

Publisher: Atria Books


On a freezing night in January 1941, a little Jewish girl is found on the steps of an apartment building in Bucharest. With Romania recently allied with the Nazis, the Jewish population is in grave danger, undergoing increasingly violent persecution. The girl is placed in an orphanage and eventually adopted by a wealthy childless couple who name her Natalia. As she assimilates into her new life, she all but forgets the parents who were forced to leave her behind. They are even further from her mind when Romania falls under Soviet occupation.

Yet, as Natalia comes of age in a bleak and hopeless world, traces of her identity pierce the surface of her everyday life, leading gradually to a discovery that will change her destiny. She has a secret crush on Victor, an intense young man who as an impoverished student befriended her family long ago. Years later, when Natalia is in her early twenties and working at a warehouse packing fruit, she and Victor, now an important official in the Communist regime, cross paths again. This time they are fatefully drawn into a passionate affair despite the obstacles swirling around them and Victor’s dark secrets.

When Natalia is suddenly offered a one-time chance at freedom, Victor is determined to help her escape, even if it means losing her. Natalia must make an agonizing decision: remain in Bucharest with her beloved adoptive parents and the man she has come to love, or seize the chance to finally live life on her own terms, and to confront the painful enigma of her past.

Did you guess this week’s first lines? My son bought me this book because he knows how much I enjoy historical fiction. Here’s a description from Goodreads that caught my eye:

A sweeping family saga and love story that offers a vivid and unique portrayal of life in war-torn 1941 Bucharest and life behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet Union occupation—perfect for fans of Lilac Girls and Sarah’s Key.

Have you read The Girl They Left Behind? What did you think? Comment below! 🙂

6 thoughts on “First Lines Friday: May 8, 2020

  1. This sounds like something I’d really enjoy! Since libraries are shut I don’t have any historical fiction on my shelves, however I’ll be really excited to get back into reading it again. It’s among my favourite genres! Take care 🙂

    1. I’m hoping to get to it soon. I just finished The Prisoner’s Wife – it’s in the same genre and really good. So is The Forgotten Heart and The Book of Lost Names. I got those on Netgalley and loved them!

  2. Good day! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading your articles. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same topics? Many thanks!

Leave a Reply