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  • Location: London

The Wardrobe Mistress

The Wardrobe Mistress

Why a Booktrail?

WW2: A love story set in the glittering world of London theatre

  • Genre: Historical, Romance

What you need to know before your trail

London 1945. Vanessa, a young war widow steps aboard a train in search of a new life. She’s clutching the key to a mysterious inheritance and can no longer resist the pull of the old Farren Theatre – an enchanted place seeped in memories of her actor father.

Now the theatre is in the hands of Alistair Redenhall, a troubled former captain. Vanessa finds out that The Farren is in need of a Wardrobe Mistress and, if truth be told,  a new lease of life. Despite having no experience and no budget for supplies, she does her best. This is the job she has to have, it’s where she belongs to be close to her father. As she works however, she starts to have feelings for Alistair.

The theatre becomes Vanessa’s home and also her prison – for what she discovers there could unravel family secrets sewn deep into the very fabric of the London theatre scene . . . Can she avoid repeating the same terrible mistakes her father made? And can she dare to love a man who will never be hers?

Travel Guide

The world of the London theatres

The Farren theatre of the book is fictional but it could be any of the large Victorian theatres in the capital – The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and the Palace Theatre  are the two selected on the booktrail as these showcase the grandeur both inside and out that the Farren evokes from the story.

The world of the theatre is evoked with panache – from the glitz of the stage, to the infighting between the actors, to the behind the scenes drama, this is the whole world in one tiny space. And it’s a grand space – the world of the theatre costume designers is exquisitely drawn and you get a real insight in to the inner workings of a theatre during wartime. A carefully orchestrated world, a haven from outside, and one with  a history and a story all of its own.

The theatre is said to be located in or near to Cecil Court which is very apt as this is one of the oldest and most theatrical alleyways in london for the look of its buildings, narrow Victorian passageway and general atmosphere of times gone by. The bookshop  – Goldsboro Books – known for its showcases of books, unique first editions and a basement where visiting authors gather to sign for their fans not to mention regular shows of Crime in the Court and Romance in the Court productions! This is a theatre of books after all.

Euston Station is a regular meeting haunt for characters in the novel- this is a busy thoroughfare and train take people to and from the capital and out into the more calmer countryside…but secrets don’t often get left behind, they travel with those who carry them.

Trail Gallery

Booktrailer Review

Susan: @thebooktrailer

I really enjoyed this novel – many layers of intrigue,a sumptuous theatre setting and the background of WW2 all make for a complex novel of split personalities, shadows behind the curtains and never really knowing who or what is just out of sight, stage left.

There is something very shadowy about the world of the theatre – all those people pretending to be what they’re not – and during war time this is more symbolic than most. This is a novel which captured me from the opening scene as the setting is so strong, the cast of characters intriguing and you just know there is someone and some secret just lurking in the shadows.

I felt so involved in this book – this is a fully formed world Natalie has drawn here – and it reads like it’s being drawn and recreated right down to the smell of the greasepaint and the feel of the costumes, the anguish of wartime troubles and at the heart of it, a world wanting to carry on as best they could. The Farren theatre is at the heart of this story and it’s a theatre with so much hidden meaning and depth. The story plays out as if you are watching it unfold on the stage – it’s very visual and evocative and I was dying to know how it all tied together with Vanessa’s fate. The story of Alistair and the theatre was just captivating and very well imagined. Natalie has really researched the nuances and settings of the time well as the novel draws you into each and every scene. London during the war is a dangerous place with hidden depths and unsavoury characters but the theatre is a beacon to many..

The writing was strong and lyrical throughout and the plot unfolded with all the flair and panache you might expect of a top london theatre. Bravo Ms Evans – encore!

Booktrail Boarding Pass: The Wardrobe Mistress

Author/Guide Natalie Meg Evans  Destination: London  Departure Time: WW2

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