Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader. Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading.
Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule
by Jennifer Chiaverini
"The slaves froze when they heard the old master shouting from the big house, conversations cut off in midsentence, hands grasping spoons hovering between bowls and hungry mouths."
I get that this sentence is trying to set up for readers how every minute of life is difficult for slaves, but for the whole book, Julia (the daughter of "the old master") talks about how well they treat their slaves. So which is it? Are they all terrified by the sound of his voice--which implies that there are severe consequences of his anger--or are they treated nicely? The author never clears up this discrepancy. I think she wrote this scene just for setting the atmosphere, but it's also hard to believe that slave owners were really nice to their slaves, even if they were well-intentioned. It would have been nice to have more detail on that issue.