Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The First Line of The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg + Giveaway! (US/Can only)

The Dream Lover
Elizabeth Berg

At the beginning of this powerful novel, we meet Aurore Dupin as she is leaving her estranged husband, a loveless marriage, and her family’s estate in the French countryside to start a new life in Paris. There, she gives herself a new name—George Sand—and pursues her dream of becoming a writer, embracing an unconventional and even scandalous lifestyle.

Paris in the nineteenth century comes vividly alive, illuminated by the story of the loves, passions, and fierce struggles of a woman who defied the confines of society. Sand’s many lovers and friends include Frédéric Chopin, Gustave Flaubert, Franz Liszt, Eugène Delacroix, Victor Hugo, Marie Dorval, and Alfred de Musset. As Sand welcomes fame and friendship, she fights to overcome heartbreak and prejudice, failure and loss. Though considered the most gifted genius of her time, she works to reconcile the pain of her childhood, of disturbing relationships with her mother and daughter, and of her intimacies with women and men. Will the life she longs for always be just out of reach—a dream?

Brilliantly written in luminous prose, and with remarkable insights into the heart and mind of a literary force, The Dream Lover tells the unforgettable story of a courageous, irresistible woman.

The First Sentence of The Dream Lover and What It Means

The first sentence of The Dream Lover is, "In the dining room, the men are eating roses."

This line came out of the blue, as did the last line of the book, which came at the same time—the words just suddenly planted themselves in my brain. I love when things like this happen! For me, the best writing is always unplanned, and happens when I take a kind of free fall into trust. When I was presented those two lines, I got oriented as to where I was, and to where I needed to go.

A famous poet I know asked me what I was writing when I had just begun The Dream Lover. I said, "I don't quite know yet, and I don't really like to talk much about works in progress. But I can tell you the first line."

"What is it?" she asked.

When I told her, she said, "Well. That might be the best first line I've ever heard.” What a shot in the arm that was!

The significance of that first line was not immediately clear to me; it was like seeing a person far off, walking in fog. But as I learned more about George Sand, and as the story began taking shape, I saw that it was exactly the line I needed. It speaks to another time, and it speaks to the oppression of women by men, as I believe George Sand saw it (if you let roses serve as a symbol for women). It also speaks to something Sand loved very much, people gathered at her table, enjoying themselves, filling up with good food but also rich conversation about literature, politics, philosophy, music. I have to say that I find this line a bit more attractive than the first line of my first novel, Durable Goods: "Well, I have broken the toilet.”

I love this question, by the way; I think first lines are really important!

About the Author

Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels, including Tapestry of Fortunes, The Last Time I Saw You, Home Safe, The Year of Pleasures, and Dream When You’re Feeling Blue, as well as two collections of short stories and two works of non-fiction. Open House was an Oprah’s Book Club selection, Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year, Talk Before Sleep was short-listed for an Abby Award, and The Pull of the Moon was adapted into a play.

Berg has been honored by both the Boston Public Library and the Chicago Public Library. She is a popular speaker at venues around the country, and her work has been translated into twenty-seven languages. She is the founder of Writing Matters, a reading series designed to serve author, audience, and community. She divides her time between Chicago and San Francisco.


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Dream Lover—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
How much attention do you pay to the first line of a book? What makes for a good first line?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Elizabeth and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher—a huge thank you to TLC Book Tours and Random House!
Giveaway ends May 12th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada readers only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for the list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!