I have a fondness for epistolary books and was super excited to dive into Yours From The Tower by Sally Nicholls!!
It’s the story of three girls who have just finished school and are off to pursue their futures (some they’ve chosen and some they feel obligated to do). They’re such close friends and dreaded giving each other up as distance separated them, so they started writing letters where all three would receive the same letters and keep posting them back and forth to each other. I love friendship books. 🥺 (And this is such a reminder of how easy it is to stay in contact with people these days and to keep up long-distance friendships.) The girls are truly so close and have dynamic personalities which was interesting to see them come through the letters. Sometimes, with books with multiple narrators, the voices can blur, but each girl felt so distinct to me as they wrote.
- Louisa is from an upperclass family and is off to find a husband (preferably a rich one ahem), so she’s set to do the Season and go to lots of balls and meet all the eligible bachelors and be wooed, not by love, but by status. Except that’s not working out so well for her when a youngest-son of a not-financially-stable family falls for her and she is struggling hard not to be enamoured back.
- Tirzah has been stuffed back into her ailing grandmother’s house to act as companion and basically live the most boring life ever as a sour, nasty old woman bosses her around. Tirzah is super outgoing and vibrant and dynamic, so being stuffed inside a house to read to an old woman is NOT suiting her personality. Her letters are full of drama and raging and then eventually she starts digging into the past and what happened to her mother.
- Polly is off to work in an orphanage. She has such a soft, kind heart and she gets so invested i the lives of the children, but particular a family of three small boys who claim their evil stepmother abandoned them in the orphanage but their father is still alive, just overseas serving in the army. Polly is shocked that someone could do something like this to them and starts investigating, all the while trying not to fall for the orphanage manager.
It was a quick read and easy to devour. There are letters from a few other POVs sprinkled throughout (some were really funny from some of the boys lol) but mostly it’s just Tirzah, Louisa and Polly. I did feel Polly probably have as much page time as the others, but I was invested in Tirzah character growth arc and wondering if Lousia was going to go for that charming himbo of a boy. 😂 Sebastian was so dramatic. I also appreciated that it’s like a slice-of-life story and there wasn’t really friendship drama or backstabbing between the girls. They genuinely were such good friends.
And I laughed when they occasionally wrote privately to each other outside of the letters they all three shared. The 1800s equivalent of the group chat spawning new group chats.
Read it for:
♡ whole book told in letters
♡ 1800s lifestyle
♡ variety of different goals/lives women could lead back then
♡ some humour and drama
♡ strong friendship vibes
♡ intriguing subplots with little bites of mystery
Thank you to Walker Books for the copy!
1896. Tirzah, Louisa and Polly are best friends who’ve left boarding school and gone back to very different lives. Polly is teaching in an orphanage. Louisa is looking for a rich husband at the London Season. And Tirzah is stuck acting as an unpaid companion to her grandmother. In a series of letters, they share their hopes, their frustrations, their dramas … and their romances. Can these three very different young women find happiness?
published November 1st, 2023