First Line Friday — The Key to Everything

26 Jun

Happy Friday! This weekend I am at the beach — my first foray into travel since everything that has been going on (Southern for pandemic 😉 ). While I am more of a mountains kind of gal, we try to go to the beach at least once a year for a change of scenery, and, I suspect, to cement our love of the mountains. I put The Key to Everything by Valerie Fraser Luesse in my beach bag and will be reading it while listening to crashing waves. I love the cover. It definitely has a beach-y vibe. The 15 year old main character is on a journey — riding his bike from St. Augustine to Key West. I will be staying a little bit north of his starting point, but I will be with him in spirit!


April 1947

Though he couldn’t have known, nor ever guessed, Peyton Cabot had just witnessed a bittersweet kiss goodbye. 



Peyton Cabot’s fifteenth year will be a painful and transformative one. His father, the heroic but reluctant head of a moneyed Savannah family, has come home from WWII a troubled vet, drowning his demons in bourbon and distancing himself from his son. A tragic accident shows Peyton the depths of his parents’ devotion to each other but interrupts his own budding romance with the girl of his dreams, Lisa Wallace.

Struggling to cope with a young life upended, Peyton makes a daring decision: He will retrace a journey his father took at fifteen, riding his bicycle all the way to Key West, Florida. Part declaration of independence, part search for self, Peyton’s journey will bring him more than he ever could have imagined — namely, the key to his unknowable father, a reunion with Lisa, and a calling that will shape the rest of his life.

Through poignant prose and characters so real you’ll be sure you know them, Valerie Fraser Luesse transports you to the storied Atlantic coast for a unique coming-of-age story you won’t soon forget.

Valerie Fraser Luesse is the bestselling author of Missing Isaac and is an award-winning magazine writer best known for her feature stories and essays in Southern Living, where she is currently a senior travel editor. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse has published major pieces on the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta, Louisiana’s Acadian Prairie, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Her editorial section on Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and Louisiana won the 2009 Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama.


For more fabulous first line fun, head over to Hoarding Books!

7 Responses to “First Line Friday — The Key to Everything”

  1. Kirby preppybookprincess June 26, 2020 at 9:58 am #

    Happy Friday!

    The Key to Everything sounds like a beautiful story, and I love that opening line.

    On my blog today, I’m sharing the first line from Smitten by Colleen Coble, Kristen Billerbeck, Denise Hunter and Diann Hunt:

    “Natalie Mansfield’s heart swelled as she stood on the perimeter of the town square and watched her niece and the other children decorate the town for Easter.”

    I hope you have a lovely vacation at the beach, and find lots of time to read 🙂

  2. Paula Shreckhise June 26, 2020 at 10:50 am #

    That book sounds wonderful!

    My first line is from A RECKLESS LOVE by Beth White
    Prologue: April 22, 1865 North of Memphis, Tennessee

    Zane’s first thought when he came to was that the world was coming to an end.

    Great ending to the series!

  3. bellesmoma16 June 26, 2020 at 2:20 pm #

    Happy Friday! 🙂
    Today, I’m sharing the first line from Line by Line by Jennifer Delamere. I’m currently reading The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper, so I’ll share a line from there:
    “Stefan pushed open the doors to the Berkeley deep in thought.”
    Hope you have an excellent weekend! 🙂❤📚

  4. Anneliese Dalaba June 26, 2020 at 2:28 pm #

    Happy Friday! My current read is A Cowboy at Heart (The Amish of Apple Grove, Book 3). Here’s the first line: “The first fingers of sunlight danced across the tips of tender wheat plants that had poked through the rich Kansas soil only two weeks before.” Have a great weekend!

  5. MrsDMVH June 26, 2020 at 3:23 pm #

    What a heart wrenching line! Happy Friday!!

  6. Kelly-Ann Deffenbaugh June 26, 2020 at 8:20 pm #

    Happy Friday!
    Over on my blog I shared the first line from The Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden
    “The stately houses of Winslow Street looked utterly safe and respectable in the hot summer evening. Mikhail knew all that was about to change.”

    Have a lovely weekend!

    • rbclibrary June 28, 2020 at 6:10 pm #

      I really enjoyed that book!

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