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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

‘The Paradise Waltz’ by Jessica Stirling

She knew without glancing at the wall clock or slipping her watch from her pocket that it was close to half past three and that the working week was almost over. John Thomas had begun to bounce up and down in his seat and, taking their cue from the biggest boy in class, the five- and six-year-olds scrambled to find their schoolbags and scoop up their books and pencils.

‘Still,’ said Christine evenly. ‘Sit absolutely still.’

The little ones froze obediently but the rebels in the back row muttered and, for some incomprehensible reason, kicked the iron stanchions of their desks as if, Christine thought, they were contemplating mutiny just to avoid five more minutes of confinement.

A much welcome lighter read, after the intensity of my last project, this is a romantic fiction novel, set in the Scotland, of the early 1930s.

I have only read to page 40 so far, but it is already all I have come to expect from prolific Scottish author, Jessica Stirling. Check out the link to author’s website, you may be in for a surprise!

A full synopsis, can be found as usual, by clicking on the book image, for those of you who want to get the first lines into context, or indeed find out more about this lovely story.

If you want to share the first lines of a book you are reading, click on the link and visit Katy, at ‘A Few Pages More’, then make your way to the ‘Book Beginnings’ page.

You can then leave a link to your own book beginnings post, or just browse for some great new reads.

Don’t forget that Katy loves to hear from you, so why not leave a comment for her, at the same time.



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I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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    • Hi Rikki,

      I can always remember trying to surreptitiously pack my schoolbag under the desk, during the last few minutes of a lesson, so that I could escape the confines of the classroom, the instant the home-time bell sounded.

    • Hi Laurel-Rain,

      I agree…. I love it when the opening lines of a book can conjour up images and start to tell the story right away.

      If the opening passages are ambiguous or don’t actually tell me anything, then it’s ‘odds on’ that the story will take forever to take shape and by then I will have started to lose interest and the plot will have lost it’s impetus.

    • Hello Ann,

      It is so good to ‘meet’ you, definitely one of the best things about blogging, is all the new friends you can make, from all the corners of the world.

      I am really starting to get a feel for the story now and all the vibes are good. I have read quite a few Jessica Stirling stories and I love the relaxed, easy flowing style of writing. The characters always have a life and identity of their own and the stories always hang together well, with the end being as well thought about as the beginning.

      A good relaxing read.

  • What a pretty cover! And clicking through to the synopsis, this sounds like a lovely story as well. The first lines make me think of my son’s kindergarten class, where I volunteer once a week. It is so hard to get them to be still, especially near the end of the day.

    Thanks for participating in Book Beginnings!

    • Hi Katy,

      Thanks for hosting ‘Book Beginnings’ and for taking the time to stop by and comment, it’s appreciated.

      Your comments really made me smile, as my thoughts were drawn back to the days when my now 19 year old niece, was in Infants school, aged 5.

      To calm the children down towards the end of the day, the teacher would sit them all down on a rug and read them a story. The amount of times that I went to collect her from school, only to find her, not eager to escape the classroom, but fast asleep on the rug, having missed most of the story !!!

    • Hi Kathy,

      Thanks for stopping by, love the comment….

      You don’t say what age group you teach, I guess that will influence your haste to leave the building, come Friday.

      I have the greatest admiration for any teacher of teenage children. Tiny tots, although they come with their own unique challenges, must provide so much more satisfaction, with their thirst for knowledge and inherent sense of fun????

    • Hi Kathy,

      Thanks for stopping by, it’s good to hear from you.

      I like to read a diverse variety of genres, so romance is sure to figure in the TBR pile, at some point in time. I have to admit that ‘chicklit’ and ‘historical’ romances are not my favourites, I tend more towards novels set in the mid 20th century.

      This book, set in the early 1930s, is therefore just about right and the Scottish setting is a great backdrop. I have read quite a few Jessica Stirling novels over the years, as she is a very prolific author and I find the style of writing just right for me.

      But I’m sure that I shall soon be back to the ‘blood and guts’ reads of the mystery/crime thriller, when I am ready for a change.

  • Those first lines remind me of when I was in school. We’d always be told that the bell was for the teacher not for the kids and to stay where we were until we were told otherwise! 🙂

    • Hi Nikki-ann,

      Yes, we were always eager to hear the bell, but wouldn’t have dared to move without permission.

      Luckily, I liked school, so it was never a problem for me, but there were always the disruptive elements in the class, who meant that everyone got held back even longer, when they played up.

      Not sure that I could be a teacher these days, can’t hug the little ones when they need it and wouldn’t want to get anywhere near some of the older ones, for fear that I might get clobbered by one of the giants!!

Written by Yvonne