I usually make some notes when I’m reading a book but I was so immersed in The Girl at the Window that I didn’t do that this time. So you are just going to have to put up with my ramblings as I try to explain how much I loved this book.
This is the story of Trudy and her young son Will. When her doctor husband Abe goes missing, presumed dead, in the Peruvian jungle, she and Will eventual returns to her childhood home, Ponden Hall. If that name sounds familiar to you, that is because it has strong connections to the Brontes, and Emily Bronte in particular. Yes, Ponden Hall is a real place, and somewhere that I am now desperate to visit! Much of the story draws on the real historical connections but Rowan Coleman weaves her magic into the book too.
Because this story isn’t just about Trudy and Will and their coming to terms with their grief and a very different way of life. This is the story of a 17th century woman told, very unusually for the time, in her own words. It’s the story of an imagined lost work by Emily Bronte. It’s the story of a very special house and it’s a story of enduring love.
As someone who has done a fair bit research into my family history, I loved the part of the story about archiving old books and documents and making some very special discoveries. That is definitely an archivist’s dream! There was a strong element of voices from the past pointing Trudy in the right direction. Sometimes though, these voices seemed to be putting her and Will in danger and there were a few heart-racing moments.
The Girl at the Window is a story which encompasses several genres. It is part mystery, part ghost story, part historical fiction and part love story. Rowan Coleman blends the different strands together so beautifully and I can honestly say that I enjoyed all the different parts. I went through so many emotions with the characters while reading it from aching for their sadness, being outraged at injustices, sharing the happy moments, being excited at discoveries and fearing for their safety. Rowan Coleman writes beautifully and has a way of connecting her characters with this reader’s soul. The Girl at the Window is an atmospheric and haunting story about love and loss and hope. I absolutely adored this book and can’t recommend it enough.
My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and for arranging a review copy of the book from Ebury Publishing. The Girl at the Window is available now in all formats. You should be able to buy or order a copy from your usual book retailer or you can order a Kindle copy here: The Girl at the Window
From the back of the book
Ponden Hall is a centuries-old house on the Yorkshire moors, a magical place full of stories. It’s also where Trudy Heaton grew up. And where she ran away from…
Now, after the devastating loss of her husband, she is returning home with her young son, Will, who refuses to believe his father is dead.
While Trudy tries to do her best for her son, she must also attempt to build bridges with her eccentric mother. And then there is the Hall itself: fallen into disrepair but generations of lives and loves still echo in its shadows, sometimes even reaching out to the present…
About the author
Rowan Coleman lives with her husband and their five children in a very full house in Hertfordshire. She juggles writing novels with raising her family. Rowan’s last novel, The Summer of Impossible Things, was selected for Zoe Ball’s ITV Book Club. Rowan has an everlasting love for the Brontes, and is a regular visitor of Ponden Hall.