FIRST LINES FRIDAY: Call Upon the Water, by Stella Tillyard

Yay, it’s Friday! First Lines Friday is a new feature on my blog that features the first few lines of any book that interests me, new or old! This week I’m featuring Stella Tillyard’s Call Upon the Water. I received this complimentary review copy from Atria (thank you!) and a good historical fiction novel is right up my alley at the moment. Sometimes I want to get lost in the past and see the world through someone else’s lenses, especially ones about the “New World” and the struggles people faced when leaving their home countries and going elsewhere. Without any further adieu, here are the first lines from the book!

Nieuw Amsterdam, Manatus Elyandt.

The 1st day of April, 1664.

I am afloat in the Oost Rivier, rocking on the waves, when I hear a song. Silence covers the city and wraps me in darkness. In front of me it is still night, but behind me, to the east, all the day stands ready to arrive. In a moment the sun will burst above the horizon on Lange Eylandt and the city of Nieuw Amsterdam will wake and stir. By noon we will feel the thin warmth of April; half winter, and half the promise of spring. I am happy to be alive on the water and to smell the salt.

On the sandy shore I find the dry carcass of a horseshoe crab, hollowed out and turned to the sky. A thousand lives will follow this death. In a month the horseshoe crabs will come back. The water will be black with them. Each year they surf the waves, washing back and forth until they can scramble up the beach with their blue-and-orange claws. They do not pause after this struggle, but climb to safety, lay their eggs, in the sand and crawl back to the water. Clouds of seabirds wait for this moment, migrants from the south. They clatter down and gorge themselves on the eggs, fattening for their journey. All nature is on the move, restless and lively.

This is formatted like a journal, and the first few pages remind me of the Dear America/Royal Diaries series that gave you a glimpse into someone’s life in such a personal way. I can’t wait to read the rest of this!

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