Argh, I’ve been to-ing and fro-ing on writing this review. I don’t like putting up negative reviews on my blog, I like to scream about good books. And so I’m stuck because this is a good book. It’s just not what I’d expected from Fletcher. All That She Can See was the novel that clinched Fletcher as one of those authors that if they bring a book out, I just buy it straight away. So I bought this book expecting Carrie to work her magic on me again. She did and she didn’t. For me, it was leaning more into a chick lit style than the previous books, the romance between Oscar and Olive wasn’t what I craved from Fletcher’s style but… it was a lovely build up of a relationship and if I’d gone into this book with different expectations, I think I’d have maybe critiqued it in a more positive light.
So what works? There’s the wonderful magic that Carrie manages to sprinkle on her writing that makes you feel all warm inside and wraps you up in this fictional world. In this book, it’s the story of Fawn who visits (FYI – she’s a ghost) Walter every year, who was the love of her life and Walter felt the same… still does. But now she’s visiting the theatre more… she’s never been able to come back more than once a year so why now?
When The Curtain Falls is back on the West End having a revival almost seventy years later and Olive is starring in the role that Fawn played all those years ago. Like Fawn, Olive is having trouble/distractions in the love department. Is Olive going to have her heartbroken by her co-star Oscar – who is always in the newspapers with an endless supply of girlfriends? Is this why Fawn is here – to protect Olive?
The story switches between the present and the past, which means we get to meet Fawn when she’s alive and understand the moments up to her death. I LOVE build ups like this, that feeling where you’re just starting to figure out the current timeline story and then whooooosh, you’re moved to the other.
My favourite character was Walter – his wisdom, quietness and overall kindness made his parts shine for me. The characterisation throughout this book was perfect for capturing the life in the theatre and the blossoming relationships in both timelines.
I loved that Carrie chose to set this in a theatre, it felt like she was opening up the doors to the other side of her life and really giving us a sense of what goes on off-stage!
Now I know I was whinging at the start of this review and then the middle is much more positive, so you’re probably wondering how I’m going to end this?
It’s beautifully written, a charming story and I loved the magical setting. It’s great because I think this book will attract a wider audience due to the love stories, but for me, I just wasn’t in the mood for the dramas of a new relationship and so it’s left a bittersweet memory in my head as I pop it into my bookshelf.
Have you read it? Do you agree? Or am I being too harsh? I’d love to know either here or over on twitter!
When The Curtain Falls is currently available in hardback and eBook versions published by Sphere.
Until next time, Chloé x