I chose this book to read specifically because I was currently watching Downton Abbey, and I wanted to read more of the location and time period- 1920's England- and this fit the bill. They both focus on the whole 'upstairs-downstairs' dichotomy of those in service, and those being served. It seemed to be quite historically accurate, which I appreciated. Gaynor even dealt with PTSD and other post war issues very well. My issue lay specifically with the pacing and the characters. The book was too long, too meandering at points, and I found myself quickly losing interest about 75 pages in. Too much time was spent on the in-between here- Dolly working at the Savoy, before she starts meeting with Perry and Loretta.
Speaking of Dolly, her story and character read like a Mary Sue fanfiction of the 1920's stage. She's a nobody, a maid, and she gets 'discovered' by one of the biggest stage stars of the decade and becomes a star herself? Loretta sees to it personally that Dolly becomes a big star. How nice and convenient for her. Not to mention that EVERYONE that meets her (I'm not exaggerating) says that Dolly is going to be a star, that she's important, that she's destined for greater things than cleaning hotel rooms. We get it, she's the protagonist who gets to see all her grandest wishes come true. You don't need to spell it out for us.
Also, the ending is rushed, and we don't get to see what happens after all the prep of the book. There's all this build up, and zero payoff.
As a little slice of historical fiction, this is great. As a story about Dolly, it's really not. I'm torn how to rate it, but ultimately, it dragged too much, and for me, the enjoyment of the era got lost in Dolly's stage ambitions.
Way too much of a light romance for me, and ultimately I found it boring. Of course she's a 'Cinderella' - beautiful, lovely and poor. Of course he's a 'Prince' of a man - wealthy, talented and handsome. Yawn. Didn't finish it.
I enjoyed this book and the time period, however, was not a fan of the ending. The author's other books "A Memory of Violets" and "The Girl Who Came Home" I preferred over this one.
Perfect story for a BBC series! Just a really nice story of a working girl who aspires to greater things, a revered actress with a shattering secret, a shell shocked WW1 soldier, and a composer needing a muse. Very pleasant read!
as all her book this wAs superb such a mixture of feelings to be found!! Best read year to date !
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