Sometimes you can tell how much you’re going to like a book from very early on – and, for me, The Girl At The Window was a five star read right from the start.
I stayed up way too late and woke up way too early in a bid to keep finding out more of the story. I even thought about it when I wasn’t reading it.
If anyone is looking for an example of spellbinding, I can confidently suggest Rowan Coleman’s latest is it.
Here’s the blurb:
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…
For many Bronte fans, the name Ponden Hall will probably be familiar. Once home to the Heaton family, the farmhouse is said to have inspired various buildings within Bronte novels, including Wuthering Heights and Wildfell Hall.
The children were regular visitors, playing with the Heaton family and visiting the library, which was reputedly the largest private library in Yorkshire.
Instead of it being sold and eventually becoming a B&B, as it is now, in Rowan’s story it stays within the Heaton family.
Mixing fact and fiction (she explains what in notes at the end), Rowan creates a compelling tale which is set in the past and present, has a story within a story and effortlessly blends endearing love, mysteries, ghostly tales and history.
Emily Bronte features throughout the book, which was a very welcome surprise. Emily is my favourite, although I discovered her from a rather unlikely source – Baywatch (the original series).
One of the characters was reading Wuthering Heights and something about what she said stirred something within me. The next day I went to my local bookshop and bought a copy (although I didn’t know who it was by and I’m pretty sure I called it Withering Heights). From there I was hooked. As an adult, I have visited Haworth on many occasions and the excitement is the same every time. It feels like meeting a hero, even though she is long since gone.
I got a sense that Rowan is a massive fan too – she certainly knows her stuff factually but it was more than that. I felt her passion through that of her characters. It made the book all the more enjoyable for me.
Format: Kindle (paperback is out in August).
Price: 99p (via Amazon at the time of writing).
My rating: Five stars.
With thanks to Ebury Press (via NetGalley) for the ARC in return for an honest review.