Yours from the Tower

Sally Nicholls’ latest novel is a late-Victorian coming-of-age tale about three school friends grappling with their first foray into adult life. The three main characters, a teacher, a lady’s companion, and a society debutante, must deal with society’s narrow expectations for young women, crushes, inopportune proposals, and family drama. Nicholls manages to maintain an authentic historical tone in the letters whilst creating the feeling that these girls are not so different to a modern teen. The epistolary novel even reads at times like a group text chain.

This charming novel manages to slowly entwine the reader in the lives of Tirzah, Sophia and Polly; you truly feel their heartbreak, frustration, and camaraderie. We even get the occasional glimpse into the lives of other characters around the girls, allowing the reader a more omniscient view of the story. These other letters also open up the narrative, showing that it wasn’t just young ladies who struggled with their expected roles in society and their familial duties. Nicholls includes a few historical mentions such as a lecture given by Millicent Fawcett indicating the early stirrings of the suffragette movement. However, the narrative does not get bogged down by historical detail. The letters flow very well into one another and the narrative never stagnates.

Any reader who is tempted by Jane Austen, the Brontës, or Louisa May Alcott will find much to enjoy in these pages. This is a beautiful book with just enough drama and lots of heart.

Book Cover - Yours from the Tower
Publication Date
September 2023