Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love At First Glance

The first glance of love. The moment your eyes fall upon the one who stirs your heart and whispers to your soul. Without him, you are completely undone.

That moment is the one that I most anticipate in a book. I love when a man sees a woman and is totally floored by her, at a loss for words, or grins like a goon. I love it when a woman’s breath catches, her heart skips, or when she lays eyes on the man of her dreams. It’s the first glance of promise.

One of my favorite first glance moments is from If I Had You, by Lynn Kurland. Lynn is a master at pulling you into the experience and emotion of love, and this excerpt makes me heave a sigh each and every time I read it. Set in medieval times, Robin of Artane has returned home after being at war. Anne of Fenwyck has fostered at Artane, but Robin only remembers her as a scrawny, freckled-face girl of thirteen. Here, we get to view his first glance of love when he goes to fetch her from the chapel.

He slipped inside the dimly lit structure, then closed the door behind him silently. He’d forgotten what a small place this was, but perhaps ‘twas large enough to serve his family’s needs. Robin stood still until his eyes adjusted to the gloom. At least his years of moving quietly would serve him now. He would have a look at mistress Anne before she was even aware of him, and see if his memory had served him well or ill.
He found her immediately. One of his greatest strengths in battle was his sharp eyes, eyes that could distinguish the color of a man’s eyes at fifty paces. And those eyes were currently riveted on the figure kneeling at one of the side altars, before St. Christopher, protector of those who went to war.
Robin didn’t allow himself to ponder the significance of her choice.
He took a pair of steps forward, then stopped, finding himself rendered immobile. He held his breath, wondering if he were seeing a vision or if the sight of the beautiful woman in the deep green gown before him were real.

It could only be Anne. He would never mistake that cloak of pale golden hair for anyone else’s. The candle-light flickered over it as it fell over her shoulders and down her back like a waterfall of spun gold. Her slender hands were clasped and resting on the altar before her. Her head was bowed, her lips moved soundlessly.
Robin almost went down on his knees himself. Never in his life had he seen such a picture of tranquility, of goodness, of purity. Gone was the homely little girl with freckles, too-large eyes and ears that didn’t seem to fit her face. In her place was a serene, lovely young woman. 
He slowly walked to the front of the chapel and felt his way down onto a bench near her. He struggled to think of something clever to say—or at least something that wouldn’t leave him sounding as witless as he felt.
By the saints, he’d never expected just the sight of her to leave him breathless.
He couldn’t tear his gaze from her. Just looking at her seemed to ease his heart. For the first time in five years, he felt the tension ease out of him.
And it was because of the very woman he had promised himself he would avoid.
If I Had You, by Lynn Kurland
Copyrighted material. Cannot be reproduced without permission. Author granted permission for the use of this excerpt.


Wasn’t that lovely? Lynn Kurland writes beautiful tales of lords and ladies, knights and maids, and love that knows no bounds of time. Some of her works are time-travels, and I just love them. She writes PG loves stories with a closed bedroom door, and the romance that blossoms between her heroes and their ladies is just breath-taking. Definitely swoon-worthy, in my opinion!

Now let’s take a look at the first glance of love from a different angle. What about those times when a person is completely swept away by attraction, knowing that the person is completely wrong for them. They know they should turn away, not think about them, not take a peek, and yet…they just can’t help it. They are irresistibly drawn to the total opposite of what they always thought they wanted.

I just read Save The Date, by Jenny B. Jones, and it was amazing.  Jenny is a master at snappy dialogue and loads of humor. In this excerpt from Save The Date, we have Lucy, who is at a function, trying to raise sympathy for the plight of her non-profit home for girls coming out of the foster homes. The millionaire son of the company that had pulled her funding has been told to keep her quiet. And here he comes...

The Playboy was coming her way.

The last thing Lucy wanted to do was make chitchat with a spoiled athlete who breathed in fawning and adoration like oxygen. He had been like that in school too. The jerk probably didn't even remember her.
His thick, dark hair had just enough muss to let the world know he mixed pleasure with his business. A designer tuxedo covered his athlete's body, but Lucy knew what was beneath it. The whole world did. At the height of Alex's career as quarterback for the New York Warriors, you could find him sprawled in his BVDs from small-town billboards to Times Square. If one put in a small amount of effort, the ads could still be found. Not that Lucy ever looked.
She tried to focus on Mr. and Mrs. Carter, the most recent addition to the Sinclair board, but she could hardly talk for watching Alex. He should move with all the bulk of a rhino with those ridiculous muscles. Instead he handled himself with the grace of a panther. Lithe. Predatory. And headed right for her.
Save The Date, by Jenny B. Jones

Copyrighted material. Cannot be reproduced without permission. Author granted permission for the use of this excerpt.


Oh yes, indeed! He was coming for her and she is gonna have her hands full with that one. It is a must read for those of you who love fun, contemporary romance.

And just for fun, here's a peek at a scene from August Rush, where two musicians meet for the first time on a rooftop. The real first look begins around 1:50 and the scene ends around 4:30. (just so you know).

What kind of first glances do you prefer? Can you share the book and author of your favorite first glance? Or how about your own personal "first glance"? Tell us about your own experience with first glances.


Jan Cline said...

I just have to say that my favorite first glances are all the ones in Pride and Predudice. I know it may sound silly, but each time I watch the old movie with Greer Garson, I am amazed at how the first glances set the stage for romance and they are actually the foundation for the story building on all the diverse relationships. Some are subtle and some are blatant....love it.
Thanks for the great reviews

Leanne said...

I LOVED reading that passage from If I Had You. Wow! What an amazing scene! Thanks for sharing it. I skipped over the one from Save the Date because I just won that one in a giveaway and don't want to spoil any part of it before it gets here!

Casey said...

I loved Save the Date!! What a great book! And the other excerpt was especially good too. I love those first looks as well. Usually they are biased for or against the person and the author can do a really good job of making it memorable without being cliched. :)

Julia M. Reffner said...

OK, that's it. Must read Save the Date! My favorite first glances are Jane Austen's novels and Jane Eyre.

Sarah Forgrave said...

Great post, Sherrinda! Save the Date is on my TBR pile, and I can't wait to dive in! Thanks for the sneak peek. :)

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Jan, I love the first glance in P&P too! I think all of the versions have great first glance scenes. Sigh...

Leanne, I love Lynn Kurland's romances. She writes ABA medieval/time travel, but they are closed door. She had the best heroes...strong & manly, but with a soft underbelly. And you are gonna love Save the Date!!!!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Casey, wasn't Save the Date awesome? Jenny has such great, fun dialogue. Love it!

Julia, oh yes, Jane Eyre. Very nice, indeed! And girl, you will love Save The Date!

Sarah, you won't be disappointed in Save The Date. It had depth to it, but in a sassy, fun way.

Tessa Emily Hall said...

What a great post in honor of Valentine's Day =) I love first glances. Especially the ones like you mentioned where they know that this is not the person they need to be with. But they just can't help it. The movie/book "Walk To Remember" by Nicholas Sparks is also a great example of this kind of attraction.

"August Rush" is one of my very favorite movies. I can't help but love that first glance scene. =)


Jill Kemerer said...

Oooh, I liked both Lynn's and Jennie's love at first glance scenes! So different and yet so universal. Thanks!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Oh Tessa, I absolutely LOVE Walk To Remember! Mmmm, in the movie...the scene when he sees her all dressed up on stage...he watches her sing, and he speaks from the heart...unscripted, and then....sigh...he kisses her (definitely NOT in the script!) LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Jill, that is such a good way to put it - different, yet so universal! Exactly!

Mary Vee Storyteller said...

Save the Date definitely looks like a must read. Did Jenny win an award last year at ACFW conference? Thinking I saw her name there.

Jillian said...

Oops! I just dropped Save the Date into my Amazon cart. Thanks for a great post, Sherrinda!

Cindy R. Wilson said...

I love first glances in books, especially when they're done well. What Jan said was right, they definitely set the stage for romance and they help set the tone of the book, too! Nice post.

Debra E. Marvin said...

Well, I guess I need to put August Rush on my netflix queue.

I loved those excerpts, Sherrinda. Sigh.

Carla Gade said...

Great scenes you shared with us! One of the most memorable first glances that I've read is in Ruth Axtell Morren's Dawn in My Heart when a pompous earl sees his arranged match for the first time across the room and tells his father, "she'll do." I knew then that the story would be interesting and it was! It's always fun writing a first glance scene.


Pepper said...

Wow, the movie clip was great. First glance and first kiss all rolled up into one!! WOOHOO!!!
Okay - so I'm a P & P fan, defintely- and a shout out to Carla Gade. I LOVE Ruth's book Dawn in my Heart. I wept at the end, but hte first glance was wonderful.
I LOVE my first glance in Here to Stay with Eisley and Wes. LOVE IT!!
I love the first glance in my Spec fiction novel too.

Great post, Sherrinda.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Mary, you are right! She won the YA Carol Award with I'm So Sure. :)

Jillian....good for YOU! You will love it!

Cindy, isn't it a fun way to set the tone for a romance book? Ooey gooey or fiery!

Debra, you definitely need to watch August Rush! It is one of the sweetest movies ever!

Carla!!!! Thanks for the link! I absolutely LOVED it! Regency is one of my favorite eras and that one looked amazing!

Pepper, I love Eisley and Wes's first glance. Yum, Yum! That definitely sets the tone for a great story.

Angie Dicken said...

Ah, my first glance at my husband was in a dance hall in College Station, Texas (our Sophomore year)...He was wearing a cowboy hat and gave me a cocky nod of his head when my friend introduced us...I thought, "He's cute, but sure is full of himself!" 15 years later...who knew?
Great post, Sherrinda!