View from the Sixth Floor is a great story, every word is carefully written. I felt as if I was watching a good movie, a movie i wouldn’t mind watching over and over again. I like the way Elizabeth Newton selected her characters, they are not too many, they are easy to remember and the parts they play in this great story is believable. The relationship between Olivia and Bill is an eye opener….Wow!!!! It was all nice and smooth until they set off for Dallas and it was at this stage when I hated all the interruptions coming my way. I didn’t want to be separated from Olivia and Bill and then there is Judy, Olivia’s friend, I wasn’t sure which side Judy was on. Was she working with Agent Martin or she was a true friend? What about Dr Gupta and then the Lawyer Barry? I don’t want to spoil it for readers I enjoyed ‘View from the sixth floor’ the book has all the ingredients I love in a book. I was tense, I gasped, I had Goosebumps, I held my breath, I groaned when there was interruptions... Poor George! Gone but not forgotten! Olivia is an incredible woman, I lover her.
I picked this book after becoming intrigued by the story from the author's blog. JFK' s assassination is a subject that easily gets the juices flowing, and I was eager to investigate a new spin. It's lovely to go over old ground with a completely new story and angle, and that's exactly the journey Horton-Newton takes us on.
I really loved the timeless, everyday quality of Olivia and Bill's relationship. I wanted to join them on the porch for iced tea as much as I wanted to uncover the mystery and adventure they were heading into. It's a genre I wouldn't normally go for, and the power of the writing here is good enough to make me feel like I've been missing out - an impressive accomplishment.
Given the conspiracies surrounding the events, things stay mysterious and foggy even for those at the centre of the story, which helps keep the pace tight and the story taught, and the reader hungry for more. At the end, I was converted not only to the genre, but the author as well.
One Thursday after school six of us teens met up outside the Gaumont in Cheltenham. With the exuberance of youth we giggled our way in to watch The Village of the Damned, a film adaptation of John Wyndham’s science fiction novel, The Midwich Cuckoos. I was mad keen on science fiction and eager to see the film and to hold the hand of Elaine (surname withheld to protect our blushes.). Sadly, Colin wasn’t so keen on the film and might have imbibed too much under-age cider. He kept tickling the girls either side of him and their histrionics, followed by booing from the audience around us attracted the manager who gave us a warning. A few minutes later the film was stopped and I thought we were definitely going to be ejected but sadly it was worse. The date was 22nd November 1963 The manager walked in front of the now blank screen, coughed and said, “I am afraid I have shocking news. I’m sorry to say that John F Kennedy, the President of the USA, has been shot and feared dead.” He stood there as if not knowing what to say next. The auditorium hushed, waiting for him to say more. He spread his arms wide. “There will be more news on the radio over the next hour or so, and television might be interrupted to update us. I don’t know about you, but I want to go home.” People stood, too shocked to speak. Expect Colin, who giggled. Not understanding. Over the years we have been subjected to many scenarios about the assassination. No one I knew believed that a lone gunman could have been so skilful, or ‘lucky’ to get those bullets in the right spot, at the right time with such a poor gun and yet it was harder to believe that an organisation, let alone the government, could do it. The whole topic is compelling, so it wasn’t that this was yet another book on whether Oswald did it, but oh good, another chance to ruminate on the tragedy. At the same time, that ‘where was I when...’ feeling returns to tease me. In the words of Jean Gill when reviewing Mark Fine’s The Zebra Affaire, ‘this is a book to savour’ rather than gallop through. I thought the plot was developing too slow a pace to keep me interested until a revelation occurred that sent shockwaves through my Kindle, up my arm and blew me away. After that the pace changed from a gentle canter to gallop—later to canter again, and I was grateful. View from the Sixth Floor is one of those rare delights that uses pace to grab you by the throat, daring you to breathe, changing your view for ever. On the 50th anniversary of JFK’s anniversary Olivia has the urge to see the Book Depositary for herself. Her neighbour, Bill, is a loner, tries to dissuade her from her journey but eventually insists on accompanying her. It’s a road trip romance spiced as a thriller. Some of the Americanisms made me laugh. The protagonist, Olivia, is fond of what she calls ‘hard apple cider’. In the UK all cider is hard apple except for scrumpy, which is made in the southwest in vats, often with meat thrown in to sizzle to nothing in the high acidity. I drank so much as a teen that I cannot bear the taste now. We’d drank some before entering the Gaumont... Elizabeth Horton-Newton is adept at bringing luxuriant settings to the reader especially at the beginning of chapters such as ‘bright reds and golds of autumn looked like fire on the water’ and I loved where it was so hot the ‘rain caused steam to rise from the ground like small ghosts’. All right, the climatologist in me knows you can’t see steam, it’s condensation we view but it would lose its magic if rewritten. I’d ponder on what kind of music it was when the ‘band played covers’, a term not used in the UK and what on Earth are ‘snicker doodles’? Vive le difference! I like quotes that set a chapter up. Many good ones in this book and my favourite and most appropriate is one by JFK: ‘The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, unrealistic.’ And as Olivia says, ‘We weren’t angry with one another, we were angry with the world.’ View from the Sixth Floor is both gentle in performance yet powerful in content, a page-turning thriller I’m glad to have read.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this alternate history of J.F. Kennedy’s assassination, so I went into it without any pre conceptions. I am a UK resident and as such don’t have as much knowledge or emotional ties to the Kennedy killing, so I read this story with a relatively open mind. What I didn’t expect was to be reading a sort of romance novel between older people. Yes, hooray, a love story that shows passion and affection between a couple in their twilight years. I think Olivia and Bill’s story more than the conspiracy theory, is what kept me reading on.
I don’t really know that much about the subject matter, so on occasions I was a little baffled by some of the theories. I didn’t really get an idea of the scale of the event, and how the nation was emotionally scarred by it. But having read the book, I was more aware of the sadness and grief of a nation. For me it was the love story that took centre stage to the conspiracy theory. However, I did like the ‘What if” scenario as it kept me intrigued.
A slight niggle were the chapter headings/statements; they felt a little bit too preachy. Almost steering me to read the chapter in a certain way, so influencing how I reacted to the events that occurred. Also there was a bit of repetition in dialogue and narrative. All very minor things that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story.
The narrative voice is engaging and believable, which is a huge plus for me. Without that, the rest of the narrative and plausibility of the plotline would have been lost, so I applaud Elizabeth Horton-Newton for her writing skill.
I think this book is a great read and would appeal to readers on many levels. Highly recommended.
A View from the Sixth Floor is an amazing read. It starts out a story about loving, kind people in their twilight years, looking out and caring for one another, but accelerates rapidly into an incredibly adrenalin-fuelled ride that one could never have imagined these characters embarking on in the first few pages of easy going, homespun delight. These characters – Olivia and Bill – are wonderful to read. Through the superb writing talent of Elizabeth Horton-Newton their lives leap from the page and captivate you; engross you, so that you know not what is even around you. I really was rooting for Olivia from the beginning. I warmed to her instantly. Olivia was introduced with a touching gentleness. A proud grandmother, dedicated mother, caring friend and wonderful woman in one. But something also defined Olivia, in every word she said, every action delivered, Olivia showed unfaltering determination. Nothing could make her waver. In the beginning this determination was seen as her being a sturdy and reliable homemaker, but when the tension racked up and the chips were against her, that determination flooded back anew. Facing down shadowy G-Men, handling the press, managing friends and family during a crisis or even facing the inevitable with her lover, that determination to win is imbued in Olivia from head to toe. Feisty and formidable, Horton-Newton has crafted in Olivia a character that forces you to love her whatever she’s doing. And what she gets up to in this book is truly astonishing for someone who is just embracing the big six-O. In fact it would be astonishing for someone half her age. It is strange, despite the fact that Bill and Olivia are elderly, their adventures make you forget their ages completely.
Much has been written about the JFK assassination, but this is the first book I’ve read to take you into a multiverse of possibilities, with a skin tingling everlasting unto eternity love story that wraps around the espionage and conspiracy like a tightly fitted glove. A glove that fits perfectly. At the heart of it, View from the Sixth Floor is a story of secrets. How everyday people are not what they seem, how we all have a secret we’ll never share and how a secret love can grow and grow until it encapsulates everything, giving hope to the impossible. I highly recommend A View from the Sixth Floor for anyone who wants to feel humanity in a heart-warming tale of true love, courage and determination. Wonderful!
THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN NO SPOILERS. This book needs to be a MOVIE, right now so MR MOVIE PRODUCERS read this book and open your wallets. I at first was a tad unsure of the being non-yank and a limey through and through but the fact i was a non-american didn't halter my understanding of the plot or series of events mentioned in the book. This book is written in a delicate, yet strongly worded way that really pushes a multi-layered plot arc, that gives each character a moment to shine. It flows well, and each key point and twist is written to a fine edge that's razor sharp and makes the reader sit up and take notice. But yes it works well as a read on so many levels and it will entice readers from all different demographics and interests, But yes this needs to be a movie NOW THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN A 5 STAR REVIEW BUT AN I KNOW IM PICKY BUT I FELT THE BOOKS COVER REALLY LET DOWN THE BOOK
I have to admit I wasn't sure what to expect from this book initially. Firstly I'm not American, so my knowledge of JFK's assassination is fairly limited, and I was born 20 years after it happened, so although I obviously know a little about the subject, it's not something I'm terribly familiar with. I guess I thought I was going to be reading a book that is fairly politically heavy, perhaps focusing on the government or members of congress...something like that. So I was very surprised (and, if I'm honest, pretty relieved) to find that I was reading a book about a relatively unassuming down-to-earth grandmother in her 60s. It couldn't have been further from what I'd thought I'd be reading about. I noticed another reviewer remarking on something similar - it's true, it's just not what you expect!
Olivia is, in many ways, a very emotional woman. At times I thought she got very carried away with the things she worried about, making mountains out of molehills and worrying about every little thing. Then it occurred to me that, of course, it made sense. She's living alone, her husband having recently died, and she's probably feeling quite vulnerable. I liked her though - she might have been a little paranoid, but I suppose it's true what they say - it's not paranoia if they're really watching you!
The relationship between Olivia and Bill was very sweet. I enjoyed reading about their developing feelings for each other, and it was lovely that Olivia had a supportive network of family (well, one son at least), and friends to be there for her when she most needed them.
The author kept me intrigued as to what Olivia was going to do next once she had been clued in on...well...for the sake of avoiding spoilers let's just say it's Oswald related and leave it fairly ambiguous (in case you didn't get that from the title!)
I really must seek out some Hard Apple Cider - it sounds intriguing!
Great book, lots of little what-ifs to keep you guessing. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending it.
This is an intriguing and entertaining read. The initial premise - that Lee Harvey Oswald survives Jack Ruby's assassination attempt and goes on to live anonymously somewhere in the USA is not too hard to accept for the purposes of fiction given that reality seems to outstrip fiction in its wayward bizarreness these days. I picked this out to read as a Brit old enough to remember where and when I was when it was announced that the American President, John F Kennedy, had been shot in Dallas. My mother was ironing clothes and even now that smell of a hot iron on new laundered sheets takes me straight back. This novel presents an alternative reality and is a well written tale,