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Monday, April 1, 2013

Book Review: Through a Dusty Window by Delancey Stewart


Through a Dusty Window: New York City Stories 1910-2001 by Delancey Stewart
Paperback, 108 pages
Delancey Stewart Publications
November 17, 2012

Genre: Short Stories, Historical Fiction

Source: Received for review from author as part of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour

“New York City is a place full of whispers and ghosts. It is impossible to walk the sidewalks there without considering the lives and paths of those who walked them before; those who left their imprints – visible and hidden – on everything that makes up the city today. Through a Dusty Window is a collection of ten short stories spanning a century between 1910 and 2001, all of which take place in the same Upper West Side brownstone apartment. Through each vignette, readers are given perspective on historical events that deeply influenced the city, filtered and understood – or misunderstood – through the eyes of Stewart’s characters. From Prohibition to World War II; the Vietnam-era Summer of Sam killings to John Lennon’s murder – Stewart’s stories give modern day explorers a chance to see the city as it was, and to answer the question: who was here before me?”

I have read collections of short stories before, however I haven’t thought of them as works of historical fiction. Through A Dusty Window gives the reader a quick glimpse into the life occurring in a brownstone in New York City throughout the decades. In those short pages you get a distinct feel for the period through dress, attitudes, and/or events. It was interesting to see decades covered that are not within the typical purview of historical fiction – such as the 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s – because even though I lived through some of these events I don’t know much about them as I was very young.

I was very happy that the stories came full circle in the end and that the stories all were tied together. That was what I was hoping for when picking up this book – for this history of a house, you need something to tie the different families that lived there together in some small way. While these stories were just snippets of the lives that went on in the brownstone, it felt like they could have been developed into full stories in their own ways.

I especially liked the concept for this set of short stories. I have never lived in a house that had any sort of history or had really been around all that long – but I have always found myself wondering about those historic homes in my town that have modern day families living in them. You know that those homes have “seen” a lot go on around them as well as within their walls. So while these stories were about the people living in the house, they were also about the house itself.

I read this collection in one short sitting – not only because it is short in length but I really enjoyed all of the stories and wanted to see which events were covered in each decade and how it resolved.

This is the author’s first book with another in the wings. You can visit the author’s blog for additional information about the book.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N.

TADW Tour Banner FINAL

You can follow along with the rest of the blog tour by visiting the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours site or on Twitter with the following hashtag: #DustyWindowVirtualTour.

Thanks to the virtual tour, I have a paperback copy of the book for giveaway to one lucky US resident.  The giveaway is open until April 14th.  Simply put your entries into the Rafflecopter below to be entered.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Copyright © 2013 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. Your review makes me want to read this book.Thanks for giveaway.lomazowr@gmail.com

  2. I really thinks this sounds good! I don't usually read short stories but the historical aspect of this is interesting. Thanks for the giveaway!

    1. I'm not the biggest fan of short stories either, but the collection overall had a cohesive feel to it which made it feel like a novella in length.

  3. This book is totally you, due to the stories being about the history of the residents of the building. Reminds me of your real stories posts.
    Thanks for the contest and reminding me I was an idiot for not reviewing this one ;)
    maybe I'll win a copy

    1. Thanks Jenny! I really liked that this one was one that I could read it one sitting - felt like progress of the TBR front.


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