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The Whalebone Theatre – Joanna Quinn

The Whalebone Theatre – Joanna Quinn

A friend mentioned that she had enjoyed this novel, so I reserved it at the library and my turn came around quickly, I think someone else is now waiting for it. This was great, so much detail.

Here’s the blurb …

A transporting, irresistible debut novel that takes its heroine, Cristabel Seagrave, from a theatre in the gargantuan cavity of a beached whale into undercover operations during World War II—a story of love, family, bravery, lost innocence, and self-transformation.

“The Whalebone Theatre is absolute aces…Quinn’s imagination and adventuresome spirit are a pleasure to behold.” —The New York Times

One blustery night in 1928, a whale washes up on the shores of the English Channel. By law, it belongs to the King, but twelve-year-old orphan Cristabel Seagrave has other plans. She and the rest of the household—her sister, Flossie; her brother, Digby, long-awaited heir to Chilcombe manor; Maudie Kitcat, kitchen maid; Taras, visiting artist—build a theatre from the beast’s skeletal rib cage. Within the Whalebone Theatre, Cristabel can escape her feckless stepparents and brisk governesses, and her imagination comes to life.

As Cristabel grows into a headstrong young woman, World War II rears its head. She and Digby become British secret agents on separate missions in Nazi-occupied France—a more dangerous kind of playacting, it turns out, and one that threatens to tear the family apart.

I found it compelling, there is so much going on – family relationships, theatre, country house between the wars, world war 2, art, french resistance, …

It was beautifully written, despite being long I never thought it could do with an edit (very unusual for me).

If you love big, meaty, with lots of themes historical fiction, then this book is for you.

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Filed under 5, Historical Fiction, Recommended