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

‘The Thief On The Winged Horse’
by Kate Mascarenhas
Book Beginnings
First Lines

image of a woman sat reading by an open window - caption reads 'will these first few lines capture our imagination' - used as the image for Book Beginnings / First Lines, posts


This is a meme for all you ‘First Page Browsers’

Cover image of the book 'The Thief On The Winged Horse' by author Kate Mascarenhas




“In Oxford there lies a small river island called Paxton’s Eyot. It is secluded from the nearby colleges, partly because of the dense trees growing at the perimeter. The Thames flows to the west, the Cherwell to the north, and a narrow ditch curves round the south-easterly side. It was here that, last September, a young stranger crossed the footbridge. He had paint-flecked fingers, and dark hair that fell into his eyes no matter how frequently he pushed it back. His name was Larkin. Larkin had come to the eyot in search of two things. The first was magic. The second was a job.

Almost as soon as he stepped onto the eyot he lost his mobile signal. But he had no desire to phone, or be phoned by, anyone he knew. The sun was low and bright in the sky and starlings were weaving in a murmuration above the trees. Larkin explored an orchard. The bark of one tree was engraved with the image of a man on a winged horse, and beneath it, a single word: THIEF. Undeterred Larkin scrumped four quince and hid them in his bag.

Shortly the orchard gave way to a row of cottages, The eyot was less than a mile long, but that was sufficient to house a hundred families, And there, at the end of the terrace, Larkin came to his destination: The Kendricks’ famous workrooms, the only source of magic dolls in this country or any other.”

Cover image of the book 'The Thief On The Winged Horse' by author Kate Mascarenhas

So, you have taken a look, would you read the book?

Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Just to give you an extra helping hand, here is the book’s premise …

Image of author Kate Mascarenhus


Cover image of the book 'The Thief On The Winged Horse' by author Kate MascarenhasThe Kendrick family have been making world-famous dolls since the early 1800s. But their dolls aren’t coveted for the craftmanship alone. Each one has a specific emotion laid on it by its creator. A magic that can make you feel bucolic bliss or consuming paranoia at a single touch. Though founded by sisters, now only men may know the secrets of the workshop.

Persephone Kendrick longs to break tradition and learn the family craft, and when a handsome stranger arrives claiming doll-making talent and a blood tie to the Kendricks, she sees a chance to grasp all she desires.

But then, one night, the family’s most valuable doll is stolen. Only someone with knowledge of magic could have taken her. Only a Kendrick could have committed this crime…

A picture button for book beginnings at Rose City Reader

You might also like to visit Gilion, over at ‘Rose City Reader‘, where you can share links to the book beginnings from her own reading schedule and that of many of our fellow bloggers.

There are always plenty of new authors and titles to be discovered.

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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 Lorraine,

      Yes of course! I forgot all about your doll collection 🙂

      In that case, this one sounds right up your street – but beware! these dolls have very special powers!

      A nice blend of mystery, magic and fantasy, my review isn’t due until November as part of the Blog Tour, however it is definitely 4 out of 5 stars from me.

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you are well 🙂

  • This is hard. It’s a book with magic and I can’t say that appeals to me, but it’s in Oxford and I can’t say no to that. 🙂
    The cover is lovely too.

    • Hi Anca,

      Fantasy, sci-fi and magic books are not really my thing either, although if like this one, it really appeals to me on several levels, then I will give it a try.

      I was never a big one for dolls as a child either, so I found certain sections of this story pretty spooky, but apart from that it was excellent and there was also quite a good mystery rumbling away in the background too!

      Having lived close to Oxford when we were first married, I also agree with you about location being important when considering this book. We now live close to Bath, which is equally lovely, albeit in a completely different way.

      Thanks for stopping by, I always appreciate your comments and conversation 🙂

  • I’ve seen mention of this before, but I really liked reading a bit of it and the description you posted. Now I want to read it! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Hi Becki,

      Unfortunately my review won’t be available until November as part of the Blog Tour, however I shall be sharing another extract from the book as part of the ‘Teaser Tuesday’ weekly meme, towards the end of July.

      However, if you get the chance I would grab a copy as soon as you can, it is well worth the read.

      If you are a NetGalley reader, it is, as of five minutes ago, still available for request!

      Happy Reading and have a good weekend 🙂

  • I wasn’t totally convinced the first time you featured this one, but I must say I really like the way it starts off! You may have me adding it to my TBR (or at least my wishlist) before all is said and done!

    • Hi Kelly,

      This still isn’t a genre I would want to read on too regular a basis, however with the added mystery element in the storyline, the pages really did fly by.

      I had one tiny niggle with the setting of the book, but I won’t tell you what it is just now. My review won’t be up until November, so if you should decide to grab yourself a copy and read it first, I don’t want to put any biased thoughts in your head, as you might see things differently to me, and it really wasn’t enough to spoil any of my enjoyment!

      The writing is all as descriptive as these opening lines, so you would be in for a treat there 🙂

    • Hi Konna,

      Yes! there is definitely a good blend of genres in this storyline and they all work quite nicely and seamlessly together; part history, part mystery, part romance and part fantasy, The only small issue I might have had, was with the timeline, but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment in the least!

      Thanks for visiting this week, I always appreciate the the time people take to comment 🙂

Written by Yvonne