Yours from the Tower by Sally Nicholls
I was so excited for the release of this new novel, especially after Sally Nicholls’ brilliant success with Things a Bright Girl Can Do. Her latest book Yours from the Tower is a captivating, honest exploration of friendship and love at the end of the nineteenth-century.
Yours from the Tower is an epistolary novel, written through letters sent between three friends: girls becoming women, and discussing their careers, romances, and roles in society. Tirzah, Sophia and Polly have left boarding school and are trying to construct their own lives. While Polly is a teacher at an orphanage, Sophia is looking for a rich husband, and Tirzah is stuck as a companion to her strict grandmother. In their letters, they question the boundaries of their freedom, and celebrate excitements between them - things like birthday parties, love interests, dramas, and great escapes.
Nicholls sets her story at the end of the Victorian era, bordering the twentieth century. It considers the changes of the time, bringing to light conversations of innovation, freedom and creativity for women. It explores the frustrations, choices, hopes and dreams of these girls as they enter a new age. It is a balance - and a conflict - between women edging into freedom yet being confined to their towers. The girls each face a restriction of some sort, yet their letters are bursting with raw emotion, desire and aspiration.
Sally Nicholls has beautifully written another immersive read - where you feel like you become a part of the characters, the emotions they feel, the situations they are put in. You feel sorry for the girls, you feel excited for them… frustrated and proud and hopeful all at the same time. These letters are so real, the communications fragile and so profound that you can’t help but imagine how these girls will react when they read them. This book is perfect for teenagers and adults alike, and I look forward to reading whatever Sally Nicholls writes next.