The novella, A View from the Window, by Erika Crosse is beautifully crafted with a strong protagonist, late 18c historical setting, and tightly knit plot.
I was drawn into the protagonist’s journey on the first page, when Emma is registering for work at a London employment office with a “dirty fingernailed” clerk, who drains her money bag. I learned soon after that she’s running from a past that she doesn’t quite understand.
My senses were filled with the sights and sounds of merchant ships on the River Thames during the year that the UK launched their first police patrols at the waterfront. The book was an easy read, with a short timeline of a few months. It was informative, heartfelt, and with eloquent language as evidenced by this quote from Chapter 3, “Her appearance alone could not have persuaded him to be wary of her, since she was petite in stature and quietly spoken; and as to her disposition, surely it couldn’t have led him to believe she was capable of falsehood, at least, not upon so little acquaintance.”
With a Jane Austin Pride and Prejudice vibe, the story felt like I had travelled through time with Dr. Who and had landed in London 1798. The story reminded me of how far the rights of women have come since 1798, when women were second class citizens and chattel, living under patriarchal oppression.
The subjects of human kindness and cruelty, abuse and affection, loyalty and truth came through loud and clear in the character’s thoughts. In Chapter 11, “Emma was trapped between family loyalty and exposing the truth.” And in the dialogue of an Innkeeper in Chapter 12, “Don’t let the lies you believe control you. You’re letting fear rule your life.”
I also love the beautiful descriptions, like the one of Emma’s father, “burnt amber locks and fair freckled skin”. And later the one of Emma running in the rain, “So fast did the rain fall, Emma could hardly see, as the pellet like droplets stung her eyes and inhabited her vision.”
Throughout the book’s fifteen chapters, the theme that there is “no fear in love” (Chapter 15), ran like a river twisting and turning and rushing through the strong character development. I recommend the book for lovers of historical fiction, romance, and young adult books. I was satisfied when truth and love prevailed making for a happy ending! I so enjoyed reading A View from the Window. You will too!