Midsummer Madness by Stella Whitelaw

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Midsummer Madness by Stella Whitelaw

Buy Midsummer Madness by Stella Whitelaw at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The guest director isn't completely unknown to the girl in the prompt corner, but he doesn't seem to recognise her. A good story and excellent characters - highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? yes
Pages: 224 Date: October 2009
Publisher: Robert Hale Ltd
ISBN: 978-0709089148

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You'll like Sophie Gresham. She wanted to be an actress but suffers from paralysing stage fright and when the side effects became too much for her she worked behind the scenes. She's a very good prompt despite the fact that you need to wrap up very warmly to survive in the prompt corner she loves her job and most of the cast in the theatre company. It's a bit of a shock though when she realises that the guest producer from New York is Joe Harrison, the man she helped out when he had nothing to eat and nowhere to sleep. Sophie was a little softer in those days – in the meantime she's had to develop a protective shell.

I picked this book up on a very wet Sunday in early November. I had absolutely no intention of reading it – I just wanted to get an idea of which reviewer might enjoy Midsummer Madness. I was only a few pages in when a couple of things stuck me: Stella Whitelaw can write and in Sophie Gresham she's developed a great heroine. I pulled a fleece around my shoulders and settled down a little more comfortably – just to have a look, obviously.

Dinner was late and the preparation rather rushed because I had to find out what happened to Sophie. She's intelligent, with a wonderful turn of phrase and a warm heart for all but the upstart actress we all loved to hate. Stella Whitelaw captures the atmosphere in the theatre perfectly – you'll feel the draughts and smell the grease paint. You'll smell a rat too – there is obviously something that Sophie is not telling us and which she definitely doesn't want the rest of the company to know about.

I was ready to dislike Joe Harrison on sight. He's big headed, obviously used to the good life and he's demanding, but he grew on me almost against my wishes. I don’t like people like that – but he got results and he seemed to be fair, well most of the time.

It's a good story too – there are all the vicissitudes of theatre life and quite a few twists and turns along the way. I guessed Sophie's secret but I wasn't so certain that it put me off reading avidly through to the end. Wet Sundays can be quite good fun, you know.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

For more of the theatre we can recommend An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson and Stage by Stage by Jan Jones.

Buy Midsummer Madness by Stella Whitelaw at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Midsummer Madness by Stella Whitelaw at Amazon.co.uk

Buy Midsummer Madness by Stella Whitelaw at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Midsummer Madness by Stella Whitelaw at Amazon.com.


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