Review published on August 11, 2017.
Set in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, this is a love story set in the world of the theatre. Vanessa Quinnell – a WAAF during the conflict – unknowingly finds herself drawn to a naval officer and also to the unpredictable and exciting world of the stage. However, underpinning all this is the mysterious death of her father and in her efforts to discover his past – the unfolding revelations are more shocking than she could ever have imagined.
Not being a fan of the romance genre, I approached this novel with some trepidation. However, it’s fair to say that I quite enjoyed reading it. The author has created some strong characters, although the chemistry between the two main protagonists feels forced at times. I found the depiction of the theatrical world more interesting and it is in this aspect that the story is the strongest, from the reconstruction of the theatre, the casting of the play and the role of the wardrobe mistress. There is also the possibility of a resident ghost “Back Row Flo.”
I felt like I was more engaged with the production of the play and the working of the theatre than the actual “love story.” I acknowledge that it’s very challenging to put a new spin on romance – but this novel seemed to me a bit more like an historical thriller in some respects. However, it was a pleasant read with a genuine sense of “period.”
Sue Hardiman 3/2
The Wardrobe Mistress by Natalie Meg Evans
Quercus 9781784299385 pbk Aug 2017
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