In my opinion...
What an enjoyable, well written novel with memorable characters, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I wasn’t sure what to expect of this novel, but it far exceeded my expectations.
At first the story appears to be about a missing person, the actress, Iolanthe Green, but as her dresser, Anna, searches for her, it develops into a magical, mystery tour whether by bus or on foot, through the snowy streets of Sixties London, and onwards.
I was born in the Sixties and the author’s vivid descriptions brings to life what I missed, good and bad, as the novel develops into a much deeper exploration of issues as diverse and controversial as abortion, and different types of racism and discrimination, all set against, what feels to me, a very authentic backdrop.
The story has Dickensian overtones in its social commentary, there are some very uncomfortable moments, and questions are subtly posed, what would you do in this situation- particularly if you are a ‘good’ person like Anna ?
I read a fascinating interview with Miranda Emmerson and can now understand why the settings for her novel are so vivid and easy to imagine, not only did she pretty much grow up in a theatre herself, but she did huge amounts of research. Her previous work of writing drama adaptations for radio translates effortlessly into an extremely visual way of writing for a reader, not just a listener.
I am pleased I was given the opportunity to read this book, and am delighted to learn that the characters will continue to be developed in a series of novels, as they have so much more to say, and I will be interested to listen to them.
Thank you NetGalley and HarperCollins Uk, 4th Estate for my ARC
Want to know more?
In a tiny two-bed flat above a Turkish café on Neal Street lives Anna Treadway, a young dresser at the Galaxy Theatre.
When the American actress Iolanthe Green disappears after an evening’s performance at the Galaxy, the newspapers are wild with speculation about her fate.
But as the news grows old and the case grows colder, it seems Anna is the only person left determined to find out the truth.
Her search for the missing actress will take her into an England she did not know existed: an England of jazz clubs and prison cells, backstreet doctors and seaside ghost towns, where her carefully calibrated existence will be upended by violence but also, perhaps, by love.
For in order to uncover Iolanthe’s secrets, Anna is going to have to face up to a few of her own…
A thought provoking 4 glasses