As a fan of Alternate History literature I was in my element reading Elizabeth Newton’s imaginative and provocative tale of those tragic events–on that mind numbing day, November 22, 1963, But that’s merely the capstone on which this fine story is based; it is the aftermath rendered in richly human terms that makes this story so original and compelling. It’s a special writers’ gift to take a much vilified anti-hero and inexorably, page by page, rehabilitate him into a most sympathetic and admirable character. This, author Ms. Newton has accomplished with great success; so much so that I gladly suspended any traces of disbelief, and readily immersed myself in her Alternative Reality.
Incidentally this is not another typical “Kennedy Conspiracy” theory text, as the subtitle of “View From the Sixth Floor” clearly states that this is “An Oswald Tale” (with the emphasis on “Tale”). No, the author takes us on a different journey of romance, friendship and loyalty, family, loss and redemption, and the appropriate mistrust of those in power.
More significantly “Sixth Floor” touched my heart, surprisingly (considering it’s Oswald’s tale). I attribute this to a certain charm that exudes on every page. Possibly this is a result of the immensely likeable Olivia, the middle-aged widow at the heart of the story. Her personal growth as the narrative winds deeper and deeper is wonderful to behold; from tentative to passionate and plucky. In fact Olivia reminded me of the intriguing neighborly women that Agatha Christie so brilliantly brought to life in her legendary tales. I do hope we meet Olivia again in Elizabeth Newton’s future work.
Finally, I must applaud the writers’ imagination. The plotting of her story holds true despite the real world truths stacked against it. That is a complicated task to accomplish, but with a mixture of sophistication and charm I found myself enamored by this most satisfying read—and as such I am delighted to recommend it to others!