Time to throw myself to the wolves. Here's the first three of a gothic fantasy novel I've been working on:
Charlie stood stiffly on the front stoop of her cottage, eyes trained down the strip of weed-riddled dirt that counted for a road that deep in the mountains. Paper birch trees obscured her view, clusters of peeling, bone-white trunks surrounding her on all sides. The bars of her prison.
The 3rd line intrigues me and would make me read on.
Probably this is a British English v American English thing (something to consider if marketing on this side of the pond) - I forgot what a stoop is and are paper birch trees what we call silver birch?
There's something slightly confusing about the way it's written that makes it a little awkward to read the first two lines. It feels like there's too many words (which tends to be indicative of them not being phrased in the best way, because there aren't actually that many words). I think maybe you're trying to cram too much information into that first sentence. Maybe just saying "dirt track" or "dirt road" rather than "strip of weed-riddled dirt that counted for a road"* could fix it - BUT you have four bits of important information in that one sentence: 1. how Charlie's standing, 2. that she's looking for something down the dirt track, 3. that the only road is an unkempt dirt track and 4. they're in the mountains. So I'm inclined to say keep all that - even keep the convoluted description of the dirt track if you like it enough - but not all smooshed into one sentence. It paints a picture of remoteness and isolation so I think the pacing of the sentences should reflect that.
*I live in Dorset - weed ridden dirt tracks masquerading as roads are a Thing here. We don't have mountains, although we do have hills. And crazy zig-zag dirt tracks up hills. And various little hamlets with strange names.
The next sentence just has paper/silver birches, which kind of confuses the images from the first sentence a little, but after 4 important things in sentence 1, you have only 1 important thing in sentence 2. Maybe have Charlie standing stiffly by a cottage in the mountains in the first sentence, then the second sentence have the dirt track and the silver/paper birches and Charlie looking down the track. I think you need to clarify how the birches are obscuring her view when she's looking down the road. I'm fine that I don't yet know what she's looking for - I'll read on to find out. I love the 3rd line about them being the bars of her prison. This creates a great hook - I want to know who or what is keeping her prisoner, I'm thinking she's anxious, waiting for something or someone to arrive - could be someone to help, could be whoever's keeping her prisoner returning. Either way, you've created a sense of suspense.
With rephrasing, I think you have a really good opening. I'd read on.