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The View from my Window
Willow has dedicated her two-and-twenty years apprenticed to a renowned shaman. The wheels of change have been set in motion, just as the oracle predicted they would. Her people have scattered to the four winds as anti-Romani tension flares, wagons are burned, and lives are destroyed. Trade, once the livelihood of Willow’s nomadic family, has now become too dangerous. The marauders have returned, and this time, someone in her innermost circle is targeted and attacked. As her training comes to an end, Willow must shoulder the mantle of lead shaman. Determined to keep her loved ones safe, Willow agrees to journey to an unknown land to care for a gravely ill sovereign. As a lead shaman, Willow is a confident and skilled healer, but affairs of the heart are uncharted territory. Will forbidden romance in the palace cost her everything? In Patricia J. Gallegos' The View from My Window, we take a fantastic journey through violence, wisdom, and love, and we will come to root hard for Willow. After all, the fate of her people rests squarely on her shoulders.
Willow is a 22-year-old shaman-in-training of the Tsigani tribe, a nomadic group that exists on the margins of their world. Hunted by villagers and treated as vermin by most, everything changes for the Tsigani when Willow is called upon by the queen of a neighboring realm who has long suffered from a mysterious illness. Having heard of Willow’s great skill in healing, the Queen’s daughter, Princess Madeline, summons Willow from her people and way of life for an adventure in a kingdom she barely knows. There, palace politics are cutthroat, especially for someone from the plains; just as pressingly, the princess herself intrigues Willow more than either of them could have imagined. To find love, save her tribe, and secure the kingdom, Willow must challenge everything she thought she understood about her world—and discover herself in the process.

In her YA fantasy debut, Gallegos draws upon real-life tensions and oppression faced by Roma people to shape her depiction of Willow’s “Romany” tribe. While the novel features a stirring depiction of queer love and cultural conflict through a fantastic lens, some readers may be discomfited by some of its treatment of people of color (one character is described by another woman of color as “…exotic to look at, as her skin was a delicious warm brown color.” In some moments, Gallegos’ writing seems to emulate the imagined conventions of ancient texts, replete with formal declarations between friends, dramatic repetition for effect, and speech devoid of contractions.

With plenty of twists and turns, The View from my Window is anything but predictable, though its graphic depictions of sex make it most suitable for adult audiences. Its many plot threads will keep readers guessing, while lovers of political intrigue may be surprised by the novel’s ultimate enemy. Gallegos leaves plenty of breadcrumbs for a potential sequel, which will surely delight fans of this epic fantasy.

Takeaway: An ambitious epic fantasy boasting romance and political intrigue, all rooted in Roma culture.

Great for fans of: Christi J. Whitney’s Grey, Charles de Lint’s Mulengro.

Production grades
Cover: C
Design and typography: B+
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: C-
Marketing copy: B