First Lines Fridays (7) @molliecoxbryan

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature
for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words.
What if instead of judging a book by its
cover, its author or its prestige, we judged
it by its opening lines?

Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your
current read or on your TBR) and open to
the first page. Copy the first few lines, but don’t
give anything else about the book away
just yet – you need to hook the reader first
Finally… reveal the book!


Viv Barton was hiding in her room. If she had to hear, “Have a merry Victorian Christmas,” one more time today, she might scream. 
In a place like Victoria Town, geared for tourists and Victoriana collectors, every holiday was an opportunity to promote the town. But Christmas was the biggest holiday of the year. The festivities started right after Thanksgiving. Viv liked Christmas, but it was only early December and she’d already had enough.

She didn’t want to hear anymore Christmas music, didn’t want to bake or eat any more cookies, and didn’t want to hear, “Have a merry Victorian Christmas,” one more time. Residents parroted it to each other and to the tourists. It was so rote, like lines in a freaky horror movie or TV show, or The Stepford Wives—a film she studied in college as part of her film class, five or six years ago.

Stealing away to her room was the only thing she could do to protect her love of the holiday, or else these crazy Victoria Town residents might sap it with their over-the-top Victorian Christmas. 

She’d come to be charmed by the town. She’d been here just over a year helping her aunt Libby with the Sweet Victoria B & B and working part-time at Mourning Arts, a shop dedicated to all things mourning, Victorian style. The town itself was built during Queen Victoria’s reign by newly arrived British, Scottish, and Irish immigrants. Much later, a nearly dead town reinvented itself as the premier tourist town for people who loved Victoriana. Viv had to give them creds. It worked. Almost too well. 


Merry Scary Victorian Christmas
A Victoria Town Mystery Novella #3
Mollie Cox Bryan
Mollie Bryan, November 2020

From the author—

The Sweet Victoria B & B’s Christmas Tea in Victoria Town, Va. takes a disastrous turn when one of the attendees collapses and dies.

When the police investigate, they find the supposed poison that killed her in the basement of the B & B, pointing to Aunt Libby as a suspect. And the clues keep piling up. Even though Viv and everyone in town doesn’t believe Libby guilty of murder, the police continue to suspect her.

Viv and Libby must tread carefully as they work to solve this case—one misstep could land Libby in jail. And leave the real killer on the streets of the ever-so quaint Victoria Town.