A Window Opens, the debut novel by Elisabeth Egan (books editor at Glamour magazine), is the story of Alice, a mother of three, who must try to balance work and home responsibilities after her husband of ten years, Nick, loses his job at a Big Law firm. Alice finds full-time employment at a hip, up-and-coming start-up, and quickly finds herself in over her head.
The premise of the book is interesting and definitely relevant to what many women (and many couples, for that matter) are facing today. The behind-the-scenes insights into the book world are fascinating and vivid, complex and real. The stress of Alice’s frantic lifestyle are palpable; truly, as the novel progressed, her stress became my stress.
In fact, though I appreciated the swift and engaging pace of the story, it was also extremely frantic! The strain of Alice’s life has center stage, and deep character development seems to take a back seat to Alice’s frazzled state-of-mind. Yes, I definitely felt like I understood Alice’s anxiety, but I wish Egan had been able to slow it all down a bit and give more insight into Alice’s internal life, as well as delve deeper into her relationships with her husband, friends, and children.
Ultimately, A Window Opens ended up being a promising debut from Egan, but it could have been stronger. Less day-by-day play-by-play and more evolution within and between characters would have made it a more powerful and appealing story.