Her skirt clung to her legs, heavy with water.
Nope. Too much water.
As she made her way through the garden, her wool skirt clung to her legs, making her feel that she was walking through thick mud.
Now that is a nice bit of foreshadowing. Thick mud, someone will strike that at some point, couple of chapters away. And it is a bit ominous too. I guess. It is OK this sentence, but it seems to be missing something, or perhaps there is too much here. I think it is the last clause that disrupts the thing. I don't mind the ideas, but I don't like the shape. So.
Although walking over grass, the weight of her long, wet, woolen skirt made her feel that she was wading through thick mud. She kicked out, wrestling the material away from her skin. But it clung like sticky fingers and by the time she opened the door of the hen house she was ready to flling it off completely.
Hmm. I have walked her across the garden. That is a relief. Why do I want this rain, this wool, this angry? No idea really other than it was apperently wet when this particular battle in World War One was fought. Ya can't argue with history. And it is a bit oppressive. You don't think at this point that happy things will happen in this story. And, for all I know, they probably won't.
So, these lines - four, five six, seven eight nine (I think that is where I am up to) - are probably a paragraph. The opening paragraph of the first chapter. Not really an attention grabber you would argue. Not like On the day he was to die ... or anything. Or she was to die, in this case. But is she to die? I could go back to line 4 and write something like:
Death was never far from her except when she went to collect eggs from the hens at dawn. It was a few minutes where things were too new to be close to death. On this particular day, Viola walked though the rain to the hen house. The dawn was grey; there were no pink shreds in the sky. But there was still the perfect warm whiteness of fresh eggs to look forward to.
Maybe this is better. It is not as stiff and old fashioned as the first version. Viola has a bit more of a presence in this one. I like her better. Dunno why.