Ponden Hall is a centuries-old house on the Yorkshire moors, a magical place full of stories. It’s also where Trudy Heaton grew up. And where she ran away from…
Now, after the devastating loss of her husband, she is returning home with her young son, Will, who refuses to believe his father is dead.
While Trudy tries to do her best for her son, she must also attempt to build bridges with her eccentric mother. And then there is the Hall itself: fallen into disrepair but generations of lives and loves still echo in its shadows, sometimes even reaching out to the present…
This is the first book by Rowan Coleman that I’ve read, although I’ve got a few of hers either on my Kindle or my bookshelves. I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to read one, but having read The Girl at the Window I know it won’t be long before I read another.
I’m a Bronte fan, so I suppose this book was bound to appeal to me. Set in Yorkshire in the famous Ponden Hall, so inspirational to the Bronte sisters who visited often, this story has plenty of Bronte lore woven in, not least the possibility of a previously unknown Emily manuscript.
But, even without mention of the Brontes, it’s a captivating story. The tale of the Heaton family who have lived at Ponden Hall for generations, and the legends that have built up over the centuries, of ghostly presences, warnings and cries in the darkness, it’s gripping stuff, and extremely atmospheric.
The house is the main character, but the other characters are engaging. I was especially fascinated by “Ma”, and really enjoyed getting to more about her.
Threaded through the Bronte/Heaton story is that of Trude and Abe. Trude is grieving and has sought refuge at her childhood home of Ponden Hall, along with her young son, Will. Although things between Trude and her mother are in a bad way when she arrives, Trude’s grief, Will’s fervent belief that his father is still alive, and Ma’s touching compassion for them both, and surprising understanding of their feelings, means that a new relationship between them is forged, as they join forces to puzzle out what is going on at their home.
I don’t want to give away any more of the plot, so I’ll just say that this book is very well written with beautifully crafted language and rich imagery. I was drawn in from the first paragraph and the book didn’t let me go until the very last word. In fact, it’s still there, in the recesses of my mind, haunting me …
I honestly loved this book and will no doubt read it again at some point – something I rarely do. A high accolade indeed!
You can buy The Girl at the Window here.