Today I’ll be participating again in First Chapter First Paragraph, hosted by Diane, at Bibliophile by the Sea. 

I’ll also be spotlighting this one in Teaser Tuesdays, at Should Be Reading

My excerpt is from Unbroken, by Jamie Lisa Forbes.

First Paragraphs/Teaser:

Gwen Swan stomped her feet on the porch mat.  In the gray light, she fretted over the five eggs in her pail, ignoring the icy draft ruffling the dogs.  Damnit—now she’d have to buy eggs in town.  The door scraped the floor planks as she pushed it shut and the dogs hunkered back down on their beds with soft groans.

Inside, Will, still in his long underwear, drank coffee by the stove.  “How cold is it?” he asked.

“Cold enough to stop the hens from laying.  You’d better get your pants on.  Your father’ll be here any minute.”

Will moved away, slurping his coffee.

Eggs and sausages sizzled in the skillet by the time John’s truck rumbled into the yard.  In the pause that followed, she dreaded his every approaching step.

Sure enough, the door flew open and his voice boomed across the kitchen.  “Coffee hot?”

The same damn phrase every morning—as if he’d ever gotten it cold!  She’d fed him three meals a day since her mother-in-law had died—barely two months after she’d married Will.  Oh, she was so hopeful in those days, so eager to show her new family how much she could do!  But after ten years of meals, with a handful of days off for childbirth, John’s voice at the crack of dawn zapped her like a cattle prod and just like a cow, she wanted to knock him down as she charged out the door.


Blurb:  Ranching is a life of extremes, perhaps even more so on the high plains near Laramie, Wyoming. And no one knows that better than Gwen Swan, who married both her husband Will and his family ranch where she works hard beside the men and struggles to raise her two children. Meg Braeburn, who has broken away from her family’s ranch, expects unrelenting hard work when she takes a job on the place neighboring the Swans’. She and her son face an uncertain future, but she is determined to leave the past behind and make a good life for them. Gwen, who understands the corrosive effects of isolation better than Meg, includes Meg in her family and community and wins Meg’s gratitude and support. But there is little time for reflection on anyone’s part as the wheel of the seasons grinds relentlessly onward bringing disasters and triumphs and a a rough road for all concerned. The prodigal Swan son returns and relationships shift, old resentments resurface and friendships are strained and tested as everyone finds themselves struggling against the elements and each other to continue their way of life. In this remarkable debut novel the author presents us with fully formed characters that ring as clear and true as the picture of ranch life she paints as a background for the universal struggles we all confront.


I like how these opening lines show us the dynamics in the relationships between the characters Gwen, Will, and John.  From Gwen’s perspective, I can feel hopelessness, helplessness, and frustration.  There is an underlying anger that creates tension between them all.  I can’t wait to read more!


Please leave your thoughts. Comments, not awards, feed my soul. Thanks!

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

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.