First Line Friday — We Hope for Better Things

4 Jan

Happy New Year! How has 2019 been treating you? Even just a few days in, I am having a wonderful reading year! I am currently reading We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels. It made BookBub’s list of books that will break your heart. Hopefully, that won’t really happen, but it does promise to be a heart-touching read as it explores both Detroit in the 1960s and the Underground Railroad.

What are you reading? Leave your first line or two in the comments and then head over to Hoarding Books for more fabulous first lines.


When Detroit Free Press reporter Elizabeth Balsam meets James Rich, his strange request–that she look up a relative she didn’t know she had in order to deliver an old camera and a box of photos — seems like it isn’t worth her time. But when she loses her job after a botched investigation, she suddenly finds herself with nothing but time.

At her great-aunt’s 150-year-old farmhouse north of Detroit, Elizabeth uncovers a series of mysterious items, locked doors, and hidden graves. As she searches for answers to the riddles around her, the remarkable stories of two women who lived in this very house emerge as testaments to love, resilience, and courage in the face of war, racism, and misunderstanding. And as Elizabeth soon discovers, the past is never as past as we might like to think.

Debut novelist Erin Bartels takes readers on an emotional journey through time — from the volatile streets of 1960s Detroit to the Michigan’s Underground Railroad during the Civil War — to uncover the past, confront the seeds of hatred, and discover where love goes to hide.


Erin Bartels is a copywriter and freelance editor by day, a novelist by night, and a painter, seamstress, poet, and photographer in between. Her debut novel, We Hope for Better Things, released in January 2019 from Revell Books. I Hold The Wind, which was a finalist for the 2015 Rising Star Award from the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, will be released in November 2019. Her short story “This Elegant Ruin” was a finalist in The Saturday Evening Post 2014 Great American Fiction Contest. Her poems have been published by The Lyric and The East Lansing Poetry Attack. A member of the Capital City Writers Association and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, she is former features editor of WFWA’s Write On! magazine.

Erin lives in the beautiful, water-defined state of Michigan where she is never more than a ninety minute drive from one of the Great Lakes or six miles from an inland lake, river, or stream. She grew up in the Bay City area waiting for freighters and sailboats at drawbridges and watching the best 4th of July fireworks displays in the nation. She spent her college and young married years in Grand Rapids feeling decidedly not-Dutch. She currently lives with her husband and son in Lansing, nestled somewhere between angry protesters on the Capitol lawn and couch-burning frat boys at Michigan State University. And yet, she claims it is really quite peaceful.

Find Erin on Facebook @ErinBartelsAuthor, on Twitter @ErinLBartels, or on Instagram @erinbartelswrites. She blogs semi-regularly at




25 Responses to “First Line Friday — We Hope for Better Things”

  1. Beth Erin January 4, 2019 at 11:51 am #

    I’m hoping to fit this one in but it’s going to be tight!

    • rbclibrary January 4, 2019 at 4:25 pm #

      I hear you!

  2. susandyer1962 January 4, 2019 at 12:10 pm #

    Happy New Year! I have that one to read too!❤

    My first lines come from a book I’m reading now, The Marriage Bargain by Stephanie Dees….

    Cameron Quinn looked around the tiny town of Red Hill Springs. Big pots of pansies, twinkle lights in the trees lining the streets……apparently the basketball team at the local high school was doing well this year–the storefronts were full of team spirit. It had charm, he guessed, if you were a person who liked that down-home kind of stuff.

    He wasn’t.

    Have an awesome weekend and happy reading!😊💕

    • rbclibrary January 4, 2019 at 4:25 pm #

      But I bet he will be by the end of the book! Have a wonderful weekend.

      • susandyer1962 January 4, 2019 at 8:46 pm #

        Oh you know he will!😂

  3. hjsnyder28 January 4, 2019 at 12:13 pm #

    This does look like a tear-jerker! Happy New Year Beckie!

    • rbclibrary January 4, 2019 at 4:24 pm #

      To you too!

  4. lelandandbecky January 4, 2019 at 12:23 pm #

    Happy Friday! My first line is from “Until I Met You: Brides of Seattle Prequel” by Kimberly Rose Johnson:

    “Early Saturday morning, Brandi Prescott held her latte in one hand and opened the door to leave her favorite coffee shop in the Green Lake neighborhood of Seattle.”

    • rbclibrary January 4, 2019 at 4:23 pm #

      Sounds good. Have a great weekend.

  5. thebeccafiles January 4, 2019 at 4:03 pm #

    I really want to read that one! It’s definitely on my TBR. I’ve heard some pretty awesome reviews for it.
    Today on my blog I’m featuring My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge by Pepper Basham but it’s also my next read so I don’t have an extra line to share yet. Hope you have a great weekend!

    • rbclibrary January 4, 2019 at 4:23 pm #

      I’m spending most of today in bed trying to fight some kind of sore throat/congestion thingy. I’ve got the hot tea hubs fixed and this book. Hope you have a wonderful and healthy weekend. 😉

  6. Yvette - Bookworlder January 4, 2019 at 6:27 pm #

    Happy New Year! I’m sharing the first line of the ‘First January’ diary entry from D.E. Stevenson’s Mrs. Tim of the Regiment on my blog today. So here I’ll share the beginning of the ‘Tenth January’ entry:

    “Meet Nora Watt on my way home from church. She has been lying in wait for me. We agree that the sermon was slightly dull, but that the singing has improved. I see Grace hovering about but there is no escape from Nora.”

    • rbclibrary January 5, 2019 at 8:26 am #

      Happy reading!

  7. Paula Shreckhise January 4, 2019 at 8:13 pm #

    My First Line is from Blind Spot by Dani Pettery:

    Luke crouched behind an orange shipping container, dreading to think what it held.

    • rbclibrary January 5, 2019 at 8:25 am #

      Loved that series. Have a great weekend!

  8. Caitlin January 4, 2019 at 9:11 pm #

    Happy Friday!

    This book was one that I was on the fence about. I may try to read it at a later date. I do love the cover.

    On my blog this week, I’m featuring Laura Frantz’s “The Frontiersman’s Daughter” as my FLF. I’m also reading Mary Connealy’s “Out of Control.” This FLF is:

    Colorado Territory
    June 23, 1866

    “Last time. This is it. Never again.”

    Have a good weekend and happy reading.

    • rbclibrary January 5, 2019 at 8:25 am #

      Ha! Famous “first” and last words!

  9. bellesmoma16 January 4, 2019 at 9:48 pm #

    Happy Friday!

    Today, on my blog, I’m sharing the first line from Chasing Someday by Crystal Walton. I’m currently on chapter 24, so I will leave the first line from there.

    “Chase sat back in one of the wicker chairs Mom insisted he own, cradled his guitar in his lap, and watched the fireflies hail the end of a long day.”

    It’s such a good book. I’m loving it. 😀

    Hope you have a great weekend filled with relaxing reading time. 😀❤📚

    • rbclibrary January 5, 2019 at 8:24 am #

      Great line. Makes me want to join him!

  10. JaneReads January 5, 2019 at 10:14 am #

    I love the cover!

    For this week`s posted I shared the first line from my current read, To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer. However that book is in the other room now and the one currently next to me is Twisted Innocence so I am going to share the first line from it with you. “Holly Cramer pulled to the curb of the condemned apartment building, her yellow taxi grinding gears and threatening to die.”

    • rbclibrary January 5, 2019 at 2:12 pm #

      Thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend!

  11. Fiction Aficionado January 5, 2019 at 6:22 pm #

    I’ve had my eye on this one, so I hope I can fit it in.

    I’m featuring a non-fiction book on my blog this week–A Light So Lovely (about Madeleine L’Engle)–but I’m also about to dive into Stratagem by Robin Caroll, so here’s the first line:

    “According to your estimation, she has eight minutes to figure out she can’t open the door unless her employee uses the key he got in the last room.”

    Have a great weekend!

    • rbclibrary January 5, 2019 at 7:20 pm #

      I loved Stratagem! Enjoy!

  12. carhicks January 6, 2019 at 8:21 am #

    I am hoping I get the opportunity to read this one, it sounds wonderful and living in Windsor, Ontario, so close to home that I remember and watched the riots across the river.

    • rbclibrary January 6, 2019 at 9:28 am #

      It is such a wonderfully multi-layered story. I think you will enjoy it.

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