In 1952, making her West End debut in the lead role for When the Curtain Falls, Fawn Burrows meets stage door man Walter Brown and the pair promptly fall in love. But under the possessive eye of producer Hamish Boatwright, their relationship is doomed and ends in tragedy. Some seventy years on, the show is being brought to life once more, with young stars Olive Green and Oscar Bright, but will this second performance be as cursed as the first?
Written by West End star Carrie Hope Fletcher, she transports readers believably into the world of the theatre, and it proves to be a great setting and context for a novel. The book alternates between sections set in 1952, focusing on Fawn and Walter, and those in 2018, featuring Olive and Oscar, and for me the earlier storyline had much more depth and substance than the modern-day scenes, which felt a bit too cliched.
The pace also feels a bit too rushed in Olive and Oscar's storyline, whereas Fawn and Walter's narrative seems much more natural. And for me Fawn and Walter were the more interesting, appealing and nuanced characters. Unfortunately I felt it was a case of one half of the dual narrative letting the other half down, which in turn affected the whole impact and quality of the book. (JC)
When the Curtain Falls, by Carrie Hope Fletcher, is a story of unrequited love and revenge. The summary says: "Theatres have a certain kind of magic. When the curtain rises, we are all enraptured by the glare of the lights and the smell of the greasepaint but it's when the curtain falls that the real drama begins ...
In 1952 two young lovers meet, in secret, at the beautiful Southern Cross theatre in the very heart of London's West End. Their relationship is made up of clandestine meetings and stolen moments because there is someone who will make them suffer if he discovers she is no longer 'his'. But life in the theatre doesn't always go according to plan and tragedy and heartache are waiting in the wings for all the players.
Almost seventy years later, a new production of When the Curtain Falls arrives at the theatre, bringing with it Oscar Bright and Olive Green and their budding romance. Very soon, though, strange things begin to happen and they learn about the ghost that's haunted the theatre since 1952, a ghost who can only be seen on one night of the year. Except the ghost is appearing more often and seems hell bent on sabotaging Oscar and Olive.
The young couple realise they need to right that wrong from years gone by, but can they save themselves before history repeats itself and tragedy strikes once more?" When the Curtain Falls is out in July 2018.