A Fairy Tale For Christmas by Chrissie Manby
|A Fairy Tale For Christmas by Chrissie Manby|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Judy Davies|
|Summary: A Fairy Tale for Christmas is a light hearted book which delights and entertains with all the gusto of Panto. Set in a small West Country seaside town, rumour and intrigue keeps the reader hooked. As the story unfolds the relationship of the two main characters is tested and the Panto becomes the melting pot for many of the issues that the locals are harbouring in their personal lives. A rip roaring read to be enjoyed in one sitting if possible.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 432||Date: November 2016|
|Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks|
|External links: Author's website|
Kirsty meets Jon while working as a singer on a cruise ship. He is the impressive Director of Entertainment on board, and they fall into a relationship which Kirsty hopes will grow and develop into something special. When Jon announces he wants to return to England to his West Country seaside home, Kirsty is faced with a difficult decision: whether to follow him and cement their flourishing relationship or pursue her own career with a Cruise Line contract in the Caribbean.
In A Fairy Tale For Christmas Kirsty chooses Jon and England, and the story of their new jobs in the Christmas Panto in Newbay, is full of twists and turns, fun and laughter with a smidgeon of sadness too. Jon is the Director of the Panto and sees this as a chance to build up his reputation. He is determined to be successful. He casts Kirsty as Cinderella, a decision which does not go down well with the local amateur thespians who audition for the Panto in Newbay every year. There are tensions from the start. The ups and downs of life in live theatre present a never ending series of challenges for Jon. For Kirsty the greatest challenge as Christmas approaches, is not her role in the Panto, but her future with her family and in particular, with Jon himself.
Behind the scenes-life in a provincial theatre is so well described by Chrissie Manby. The detail is terrific, painting such a clear picture for the reader that one could well be standing in the wings while the action takes place. At times verging on farce, with a smattering of slap stick, the story is strangely believable with costume malfunctions, casting issues, inter-personal rivalries and illness crises, which threaten to derail the production completely.
I liked the somewhat overdrawn characters who Chrissie Manby has assembled for this production of Cinderella. They are brought together in the theatre as an explosive mix of personalities and provide the catalyst for much of the hilarious action in the plot. They each have their back stories, sometimes tragic, and this makes them so much more interesting for the reader as their lives outside the theatre are explored. So many cartoon-esque characters might not normally work well, but based as this story is, around the Panto world, it all comes together well. I could quite easily see this story as a TV comedy-drama which would be hugely entertaining.
There is a soap-opera feel to the plot as ambitious Director Jon is continually frustrated by his unprofessional cast. In his push to make this seaside Panto a success, he alienates nearly everyone, including his girl-friend and leading lady, Kirsty. I think the development of the relationship between Jon and Kirsty is a little predictable, but the twists and turns of the plot allow the reader to thoroughly enjoy a heart-warming outcome.
Overall, I enjoyed this unapologetically light hearted take on romance, and learned a lot about the unpredictable world of provincial theatre along the way. Like all good Pantos, the characters were glaringly over-exaggerated, the plot convoluted in a maze of detail and it all worked out well in the end (oh no it didn't).
You can read more book reviews or buy A Fairy Tale For Christmas by Chrissie Manby at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy A Fairy Tale For Christmas by Chrissie Manby at Amazon.com.
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