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

First Lines …. ‘The Parting Gift’ by Rachel Van Dyken and Leah Sanders



“David Graham stood over his wife’s grave while the minister prayed. Her favorite spring lilies adorned her casket, and she would be laid to rest under the shade of a beautiful maple, just like the tree he had proposed under at that picnic over twenty years ago.”



“”Logan Tower, flight one-seven-November-two-Bravo requesting permission to land.”

“This is Logan Tower, Captain. You are clear to land.”

Captain Blaine Graham banked to the left and brought the plane around into position to bring her safely onto the landing strip. The sun filtered over the eastern horizon, reflecting off the water surrounding  most of the Logan International Airport.”


I am wondering what the relationship is between the two men and what has happened in the 15 year gap in the storyline?


They say that the first lines of a story, are always the most difficult to set down on paper. It seems to me, that they may also be the most definitive, as I find they often set the scene in my mind, even before I have turned the first page.


As usual, so as to avoid too many unwanted spoilers, I have not included a full synopsis of the book in this post. However to find out a little more about the story before deciding whether it is your ‘cup of tea’ or not, you can either click on the book image, or click to enter Rachel or Leah’s websites, where there is some great extra background material.


What is ‘Book Beginnings’ and how can you join in the fun?

Would the first few lines of your book make you want to read on?

If so, would you like to share them with us, (without revealing too many spoilers of course) ?

 Click on the link and visit Katy, at ‘A Few More Pages’

You can then leave a link to your own book beginnings post, or just browse for some great reads, there are always plenty of new authors and titles to be discovered.

Don’t forget that Katy and all the other contributors to this meme love to hear from you, so why not leave a comment or two at the same time.


This book came as part of a ‘birthday’ offer, from the ladies at publisher, Astraea Press and as such, was free with a voucher code used at Smashwords.

This will in no way influence any comments I may express about the book, in any blog article I may post. Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article.


 UPDATE – 21st MARCH 2012

My thoughts about this book are now published and can be viewed by clicking here ….

Written by

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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  • Is this a romance novel? The cover looks like it, but the beginning doesn’t sound like one, or does it? Sounds interesting though.

    • Hi Rikki,

      Definitely a romance novel, it is what the ladies at Astraea Press specialise in, although they are steadily beginning to expand their choice of genres.

      All romance books are strictly non-erotic though.


      This story has quite a strong beginning and a definite message which will resonate with anyone who has suffered the bereavement of a close family member.

      Thanks for stopping by and have a good weekend

    • Hello,

      I have used a little ‘poetic licence’ in my first lines, just to make things a little more interesting.

      That was before I started reading the book, so at that time I really didn’t know what was going on.

      The prologue is actually longer than just those couple of lines, so we do know about the characters and the bare bones of the plot, before chapter 1 starts.

      Sorry, it wasn’t meant to deceive.

      Hope that you have some more great shots to show us soon and that you have plenty of new commissions coming in.


  • Hi Yvonne! I like the sound of this book because right away you have to start trying to fit the pieces together… The prologue is sad though…

    • Hi Libby,

      I don’t want to give too much away, but much of the book is sad and whilst you can work out roughly what went on 15 years ago, the complete story is only revealed a piece at a time and by the time we learn the whole truth, it’s too late to turn back the clock.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, I always love to receive them and appreciate them all.

    • Hi Laurel-Rain,

      There is a definite message in this story, that makes it far from your average romantic novel.

      In fact I would go so far as to say that the romance takes second place to the inter-family relationships and the healing of old wounds.

      It is a short book and easily read in one or two sittings, but contains enough interest to make you feel that your time has been well spent.

      Thanks for the visit and the interesting comment, I hope that you enjoy your weekend.

  • Thanks for all the kind words! I can tell you that while writing the prologue I had to be careful not too get too entrenched in it, because it was deeply emotional for me.

    • Hi Leah,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to visit Fiction Books and join in the discussion.

      Visiting bloggers always enjoy it when an author participates in a posting.

      I was actually wondering just how yourself and Rachel split the writing and you have gone some way to answering that in your comment.

      I am not sure that I could work that collaboratively with another person to produce a book that would actually hang together when it was finished. Do you write separate parts of the book then try to blend them together into one story, or is each chapter discussed and your two separate ideas merged at the time so that only one proof is produced?

      I have almost finished the book and will be posting my thoughts about it in a few days, but so far it is ‘ticking all the boxes for me’ and has been well worth the read.

      Have a great weekend.

    • Hi Linda,

      ‘To Be Read’ piles, ‘Reading Lists’, ‘Wishlists’ … it is all never ending and there just isn’t enough time to ever make a dent in it all.

      I have so many physical books around the home that I really wouldn’t ever need to venture into a bookshop again. Now add to that all the downloads to my kindle and all the books I get sent by authors and publishers for review and the scale of the problem becomes obvious.

      Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great problem to have, but I am never going to live that long!!

      The whole book, despite the slightly happier romantic moments, is actually quite sad and moving, yet it is all written in a very subtle and tasteful way and isn’t so long that it becomes tedious.

      Hope that you are having a good weekend.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      I don’t read romance exclusively and prefer crime/mystery/thrillers, with romance as an interim occasional read.

      ‘The Parting Gift’ is actually rather well written, with a good back story and message to it, and as Astraea Press are strictly a non-erotic publisher, the romance is quite subtle, which is quite nice.

      Thanks for the interest in the post and have a good week

Written by Yvonne