Thursday, October 26, 2023

Friday Focus: Book Beginnings


It's Friday . . . time to share book excerpts via Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires. 

Today I'm featuring Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll. The excerpts shared are from a hardcover version borrowed from the library.


Bright Young Women 

Book Beginning:  Pamela

Montclair, New Jersey, Day 15,825

You may not remember me, but I have never forgotten you, begins the letter written in the kind of cursive they don't teach in schools anymore. I read the sentence twice in stinging astonishment. It's been forty-three years since my brush with the man even the most reputable papers called the All-American Sex Killer, and my name had long since fallen to a footnote in the story.


My thoughts:  The compelling opening foreshadows the story of innocence shattered and lives irrevocably changed by the actions of a depraved man. Beyond the at times disturbing content, I'm finding it challenging to follow the timeline and relationships between characters which are years apart because of the way the chapters are structured.


From GoodReads: An extraordinary novel inspired by the real-life sorority targeted by America's first celebrity serial killer in his final murderous spree.

January 1978. A serial killer has terrorized women across the Pacific Northwest, but his existence couldn’t be further from the minds of the vibrant young women at the top sorority on Florida State University’s campus in Tallahassee. Tonight is a night of promise, excitement, and desire, but Pamela Schumacher, president of the sorority, makes the unpopular decision to stay home—a decision that unwittingly saves her life. Startled awake at 3 a.m. by a strange sound, she makes the fateful decision to investigate. What she finds behind the door is a scene of implausible violence—two of her sisters dead; two others, maimed. Over the next few days, Pamela is thrust into a terrifying mystery inspired by the crime that’s captivated public interest for more than four decades.

On the other side of the country, Tina Cannon has found peace in Seattle after years of hardship. A chance encounter brings twenty-five-year-old Ruth Wachowsky into her life, a young woman with painful secrets of her own, and the two form an instant connection. When Ruth goes missing from Lake Sammamish State Park in broad daylight, surrounded by thousands of beachgoers on a beautiful summer day, Tina devotes herself to finding out what happened to her. When she hears about the tragedy in Tallahassee, she knows it’s the man the papers refer to as the All-American Sex Killer. Determined to make him answer for what he did to Ruth, she travels to Florida on a collision course with Pamela—and one last impending tragedy.

Bright Young Women is the story about two women from opposite sides of the country who become sisters in their fervent pursuit of the truth. It proposes a new narrative inspired by evidence that’s been glossed over for decades in favor of more salable headlines—that the so-called brilliant and charismatic serial killer from Seattle was far more average than the countless books, movies, and primetime specials have led us to believe, and that it was the women whose lives he cut short who were the exceptional ones.





This Friday Focus: Bookish Memes to Start the Weekend post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog, It cannot be republished without attribution.




  1. Sounds intriguing. I often have difficulty with books that don't have a linear timeline. I refuse to take notes while I'm reading for pleasure but I think it would help with a book written this way. I'm spotlighting The Cater Street Hangman which is the first in a series I've been meaning to read for a while. Happy reading!

  2. This sounds like quite the story. The way the book is structured does sound a bit hard to follow. I hope it becomes easier the more you read. Have a great weekend, Catherine!

  3. I love this kind of stories. This sounds like a fascinating read! Thank you for sharing. Happy weekend! Now it's time to avail Cheap airport transfers for more information.

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