Published by Ebury Press
Available in ebook and paperback (8 August 2019)
Source: Copy provided by publisher for review
My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the tour invitation and also to Ellie of Ebury who had already offered me a copy for review. I couldn’t say yes please quickly enough to Ellie and almost bit her arm off!
ABOUT THE BOOK
The Girl at the Window is a beautiful and captivating novel set at Ponden Hall, a centuries-old house on the Yorkshire moors and famously used as a setting for Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Known as the place where Cathy’s ghost taps on the window, Emily Bronte used to visit often with her sisters and use the extensive library there. It’s a magical place full of stories.
A house full of history is bound to have secrets… 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…
A hauntingly beautiful story of love and hope, from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Memory Book and The Summer of Impossible Things
The Girl at the Window is set at Ponden Hall in Haworth on the Yorkshire moors and is claimed to be partly the inspiration for Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. The Bronte connection forms a large part of the story and although fiction has clearly been woven with fact, it was nonetheless fascinating and it has made me not only want to read Wuthering Heights again, which I last read as a teenager but I also want to visit Ponden Hall (which now looks to be an extremely inviting B&B).
The Heatons have owned Ponden Hall for generations, (Robert Heaton was said to have an unrequited love for Emily Bronte) and it is to her childhood home that Trudy Heaton and her young son Will flee when her husband Abe, a doctor on a humanitarian mission, is feared lost overseas during a terrible accident. Will is struggling to come to terms with the loss of his father and Trudy needs the healing sanctuary that only Ponden can provide; the only problem is that Trudy and her mother have been estranged for many years.
The story moves between the past with Trudy and Abe and how they first got together to the present day with Trudy and her mother trying to build bridges and find their way past the harsh words and anger that has passed between them 16 years before. However there is another unsettled presence at Ponden, and one that is trying to get Trudy’s attention.
There is a crossover of genres with this story and it has a foot in the camps of historical, paranormal, and romance with all strands fitting together perfectly. There is also a mystery to be solved and the story of a young girl called Agnes which captured the imagination of Emily Bronte.
What can I say about this book that can possibly do it justice. I don’t want to go into detail about the story because you need to discover it for yourself but I LOVED it. I might be a little biased because I do love Rowan Coleman’s books anyway but the historical element makes this very different from her previous novels. I was intrigued by the description of the box bed (Google it, there’s a picture of it on the Ponden Hall website) and enthralled by the richly drawn characters, both past and present, all of which were brought to life on the page. I felt for Will as he struggled to adjust to a new life at Ponden without his father; his loss being keenly felt by Trudy too. This was such an atmospheric and captivating read – with everything so carefully described, from the rather dilapidated Ponden Hall, which is a character in its own right, with its hole in the roof, desperately needing money and renovation; to the ghostly noises and unexplained visions – there is no doubt that some parts were decidedly creepy but this is not just about ghosts from the past, it’s also about love and reconciliation and never giving up no matter how difficult things may look.
The Girl at the Window is a stunning book, from cover to content. I can see this being on my favourites list at the end of the year.
I was fortunate enough to receive a proof copy from the publisher (which itself is a thing of beauty and which I shall be keeping) however I just had to buy a finished copy of this gorgeous book for my keeper’s shelf.
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.