Work in progress–impressions, please.

I am hard at work on my latest book in THE SILENT YEARS series.  As you probably know, I place GREAT importance on the first sentence and first scene in a novel, and I would like to run this one by you.

I need to know if:

*would you keep reading?

*does it raise questions in your mind?

*do you get a sense of the time and place?   and lastly,

*do you like the woman whose POV you’re in?

Please leave comments below or on the FB page.  🙂  Thanks!

First scene (tentatively) of JERUSALEM’S QUEEN:

Chapter One

They are all here, gathered like vultures around my bed, watching with long faces and bending near to listen for my breathing. Hyrcanus studies me with wet eyes; Aristobulus licks his lips, then hurries away to work his mischief. His wife, the one I have never liked, smiles and takes his place at my bedside.
HaShem, can I not stay a little longer? My sons are not at peace with each other.
I close my eyes and the room goes silent. When I open them again, the daughter-in-law at my side frowns.
Such beloved faces! Here is Simeon ben Shetah, who takes my hand and pronounces a blessing on my head. There is Honi the Circle-Drawer, who pushes his way past stubborn Simeon to see me. I try to smile at him, but my lips do not respond as I would like.
I hear music, the distant sound of timbrels and trumpets. The faces around me soften in a hazy glow, and my dear ones are replaced by faces from long ago—my father! My sister, now a woman grown and as beautiful as I remembered. My mother, who smiles at me with pleased surprise. And Uncle, standing erect, his hands folded, a look of pride on his face. I see Alena and Josu Attis and—
“Mistress?”
I blink at the sound of Kissa’s voice. My eyelids flutter, and with an effort, I focus on the oval face hovering near mine.
“Honi Ha-Meaggel would like to pray with you.”
I nod, or try to, and as the Circle-Drawer reads, the beloved words transport me above the bed, the room, and the mourners:
“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains—
from where does my help come?
My help comes from Adonai,
Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip.
Your Keeper will not slumber.
Behold, the Keeper of Israel
neither slumbers nor sleeps . . .

I look down, for I am above the palace courtyard, which has filled with my people, many of whom are weeping. The air vibrates with the high ululations of mourners. Men and women are beating their breasts, asking HaShem to bless my journey . . . as I have blessed Israel.
Their words bring a smile to my face and relief to my soul. Thanks be to HaShem, He listened to the prayer of a fatherless girl and granted her most earnest desire.
For I never intended to be a queen.

Comments

comments

Discuss This Post

  1. August 23, 2017 # Posted by Angela Hyde

    I am curious for sure!
    Yes, the time and place seem to come across.
    I’m not sure why there is someone with wet eyes who is part of the group referred to as a vultures?
    That makes me curious. It’s a great word to describe those around her though. It sets a mood and tone.

  2. August 23, 2017 # Posted by Linda Gordon

    I am waiting for the rest of the story! What a teaser. I just finished “Egypt’s sister. Will this continue with any of the same characters or is it an all new cast?

    • August 23, 2017 # Posted by Angie

      All new cast, because it’s a different time and place. 🙂

  3. August 23, 2017 # Posted by Amanda B.

    *would you keep reading? *does it raise questions in your mind?

    Yes – definitely captures my curiosity. Why aren’t her sons getting along? Why is Aristobulus off to do mischief after being at her deathbed?

    *do you get a sense of the time and place?

    Yes, primarily from this:
    “The air vibrates with the high ululations of mourners. Men and women are beating their breasts, asking HaShem to bless my journey . . . as I have blessed Israel.”

    *do you like the woman whose POV you’re in?

    Like? I am curious about her – wanting to know more – how did she get here, who are her sons, how has she blessed Israel?

  4. August 24, 2017 # Posted by Joy

    I love it Angela! A great beginning. Can’t wait for the rest!

  5. August 24, 2017 # Posted by Rebekah Love Dorris

    Ooh, I love this! Is this Esther?

    As for my impressions, my understanding (and therefore my attention) lagged at “circle-maker.” That’s just me, though.

    I enjoyed Egypt’s Sister! What a concept! Love the insight into slavery. God bless 🙂

  6. August 24, 2017 # Posted by Pj

    Clues to time and place clear through names and musical instruments.
    Curious to know main character more, she seems controlled, precise and highly observant
    Curious to read and see if continues ahead in timeline or switches back to before she wad on death bed.
    I hope to know better the daughter in law she doesnt like 😁.

  7. August 24, 2017 # Posted by Edith

    Rachel (her son was Simeon)? Esther (never intended to be a queen)? Did Esther have many sons? But if it’s the silent years, isn’t that intertestimentary? Her angus, Aristobulus– Greek names… hmmmm!

    What a beautiful passing. Yes, I’d keep reading.

    • August 24, 2017 # Posted by Edith

      Her angus my iPad spelled for Hyrcanus, sorry.

  8. August 24, 2017 # Posted by Carol Shaffer

    Yes, I want more…. Who is this poor thing surrounded by “vultures” who obviously are anxious for her to pass so that they can….?…what? Why doesn’t she want to be queen. Who covets the position if she should die? Whats the matter between her sons and if she lives can she do anything to relieve it? Why is her daughter in law seemingly unhappy that she is still alive?

    Is she going to die, or is this (hopefully) a near-death experience from which she will emerge victorious. (I love happy endings)

    And by the way, what in the world is a circle-keeper?

  9. August 25, 2017 # Posted by Nikki

    I love it Angela! A great beginning. Can’t wait for the rest!

  10. August 25, 2017 # Posted by Sioux

    Typically, these types of teaser openings are not my cup of tea, but I couldn’t help but get pulled into this. The writing and descriptions are captivating. I would absolutely keep reading. I’m intrigued by the “vultures” surrounding her (are they truly mourning her, are they pretending for some ulterior motive, are they doing this for show because it’s expected?), the “circle drawer” (love this title and MUST know more!), and the hook at the end of course. Very curious indeed. With the mention of Aristobulus, could this be Salome? How interesting her story must be! If it is or isn’t, I’m still in. Love it.

    • August 25, 2017 # Posted by Angie

      Yes! It is Salome Alexandra, queen of Jerusalem. 🙂 And it is a fascinating story (I hope!)

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