Genre: Historical Age Range: YA Star Rating: 4.5 stars Series: yes - companion book
In the Autumn of 1931, eighteen-year-old Freya Trevelyan runs away from her home in Cornwall to follow her dream of becoming an actress. When she is invited to join a theatrical company about to head out on tour, Freya thinks the path to success is clear, and, amidst all the glamour and bustle of stage life, she finds – for the first time – a place to belong.
But can reality ever live up to her expectations? What if her life – and falling in love – turn out to be nothing like she planned?
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
I actually read this book back at the very beginning of October, but I’ve been saving this review for now as it’s the perfect December read. Part of me is a little sad I didn’t save this book to read this month, a perfect lead in to the wintry season, but also I’m glad I binged my way through Laura’s books as they cannot be described as anything other than delightful.
This wintry treat is all about the magic of the theatre and the weight of dreams. As with A SKY PAINTED GOLD, there is a romance, but it’s such a small part of the story. Instead it’s about an adventure in pursuit of dreams, and what happens when things don’t work out as expected. The cast is full of incredible characters, eclectic, witty, and full of life – but also so human, as the stresses of the tour get to them.
The voice is incredible. From the very first page, I could hear the idealistic, creative personality shinning through, and anticipate the shenanigans she’d get involved in. I was giggling my way through this book. Being an actor, Freya is more than a little melodramatic. From having to wear the right outfit for running away from home to pursue her dreams to the way she greets her idols, she is just so funny and utterly unrepentant.
The dialect is so British and perfectly spot-on for the time period. It’s a small detail, but one I love and it made the story so accessible for me. It’s really similar to my grandparents’ dialects and it makes it feel so cosy and warm. The world building is also brilliant. The pre-war years are wonderfully conjured with exquisite details (electric kettle! fashion! food!).
I was lucky enough to be reading this the day of the digital launch for this book, and was able to attend it, and it really added another layer to the book, hearing the insights into the research and inspirations. There were so many scenes I was really looking forwards too (like the old theatre sequences and the beach) after they were mentioned.
Laura Wood is fast becoming a favourite author of mine, and in a genre I rarely pick up! Her Victorian project for next years sounds BRILLIANT.
Read my reviews of other books by Laura Wood:
Trevelyan sisters (this series):
- A SKY PAINTED GOLD (#1)
Barrington Stoke’s Classics Retold:
- VOTE FOR EFFIE (#1)
- EFFIE THE REBEL (#2)
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