"Set in the late nineteenth-century, this magnificent epistolary novel explores female friendship and social context with uplifting, thought-provoking verve"
September 2023 Book of the Month
Set in 1896, Yours From the Tower is a clever, compelling epistolary novel that dances with the magic of female friendship, romance, and thought-provoking presentations of its historic context. Told, in the main, through letters between three young women, this splendid story invites “then and now” comparisons as it reveals how restrictive life was for women in the late nineteenth-century, along with the era’s huge social divides.
After leaving boarding school, best friends Tirzah, Sophia and Polly are on the brink of leading disparate adult lives. This comes as a result of their very different backgrounds, and from them having very different personalities and dreams.
Sophia, whose ambitions of being a journalist have been quashed by dint of her being female, has been ushered into the London Season to find a rich husband — preferably a titled gentleman. Meanwhile, Polly is loving life teaching in an orphanage, finding fulfilment in making a difference to poor children who’ve been dealt terribly difficult starts in life. Then there’s flighty Tirzah. Tortuously frustrated by being forced to act as her strict grandmother’s unpaid companion, she makes a succession of rash decisions and harbours family secrets.
With Sophia, in particular, voicing thought-provoking statements on injustices of the age (“It is unfair, isn’t it? If we were men, there wouldn’t be any of this bother about marrying well. We could go off to university and become lawyers or clergymen or go into business… But what are my options if I do not find a husband?”), Yours From the Tower also tingles with romance while being underpinned by the nourishing power of female friendship.
It’s also peppered with wit, such as this whip-smart quip from Sophia when addressing one of her suitors, bohemian aristocrat Sebastian: “I think you and Helena are absurd to call a policemen capitalist scum, when he earns an honest living and you and she are the grandchildren of an earl.”