By Ekta R. Garg
August 19, 2015
Rated: Bookmark it!
A woman fascinated with the assassination of John F. Kennedy visits Dallas for the 50th anniversary of his death. When a friend accompanies her, the woman learns new facts about that day in history and discovers how tough she is all in one trip. Author Elizabeth Horton-Newton offers a fresh take that will encourage readers to ask their own questions in the thoughtful novel View from the Sixth Floor.
After the death of her husband, George, Olivia feels a little lost. She’s doing her best to work through her grief, however, and her friends have certainly helped. One friend in particular goes out of his way to make sure Olivia stays upbeat. Bill has mowed Olivia’s lawn and stepped in to provide her with companionship. Because Bill doesn’t drive, Olivia returns his help by taking him to the market when he needs to go and the two form a friendship independent of their connection to George.
One day on a grocery run a magazine catches Olivia’s eye. It points out the upcoming 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination and asks whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone or whether he worked as part of a conspiracy theory. When Olivia goes home she begins watching specials on TV about the assassination, and something about the event arrests her attention. Before long Olivia makes a decision: she needs to go to Dallas to see for herself the location of the murder.
Bill doesn’t share Olivia’s enthusiasm. He does everything he can to talk her out of going to Texas, citing the tendency of deranged people to make pilgrimages to sites of tragedies. What if she comes across a crazy person, Bill asks.
Olivia persists, however, and in the end Bill agrees with great reluctance to accompany her. He promised George he would look after her, he explains, and ensuring her safety on the trip constitutes a part of that promise. Bill’s loyalty to George touches Olivia’s heart, and she accepts his offer to come along. When they arrive in Dallas, however, Olivia makes a discovery that colors all she thought she knew about Kennedy’s assassination and history overall.
Author Elizabeth Horton-Newton poses real-life questions in View from the Sixth Floor. She gives room to one of the most popular conspiracy theories in American history by framing it inside a story that rings true. Olivia’s journey, both emotional and physical, could happen to any woman past her prime but with enough spunk left to enjoy her silver years.
Bill’s presence in Olivia’s life makes complete sense given the novel’s parameters, and readers will find themselves just as surprised as Olivia at certain points. While some portions of the story might feel a little predictable, Horton-Newton doesn’t spend too long in those portions and manages to spirit her readers away from the predictable to the unexpected. Although many dialogue sections could do with tags and a little bit of clarification, for the most part Horton-Newton stays out of the way of the readers and lets them revel in the classic “what if” scenario.
For View from the Sixth Floor, I recommend readers Bookmark it!