Unless you’ve stumbled across this blog by an unexpected twister of fate (10 points if you get that reference) then I’m assuming you love or at least, like, theatre, so you’ll more than likely be a fan of the book I’m talking about today: Theatrical. The latest release from Maggie Harcourt takes us behind the scenes of the theatre and transports us to a world of romance and performance.
Our lead character, Hope, dreams of working as a stage manager; her mother is a renowned costume designer who could easily get her daughter any job she wants but Hope wants to do it herself. When she lands an internship at the Earl’s Theatre, working on one of the biggest openings of the year, her secrets begin and she starts a journey she’ll never forget.
Now the story itself is fairly predictable and typical of contemporary novels, but I’m a sucker for a cheesy romance so it’s right up my street. What makes this book stand out is the theatre itself. Harcourt highlights the world of theatre and makes it the heart of the story, showing the ups, downs and pressures of working on a production, especially one with a huge name attached and a lot of money invested in it. Of course, the characters and their stories are crucial but throughout it feels as if the theatre is its own character.
What I love about theatre is how it brings people together, not only the cast and crew, but audience members who know nothing about one another but are more than happy to launch into full conversations in the interval. There’s also the pure magic of theatre when the perfect combination of great acting, stellar lighting, beautiful makeup, costumes and sets and every other aspect of a production come together to truly transport you to another world.
As someone who goes to the theatre roughly 1-4 times a week I do find myself falling into a routine of going into London, picking my ticket up, watching the show and rushing home to write my review and I end up forgetting how special theatre is. Maggie has perfectly captured the magic of theatre and I found myself welling up towards the end when her writing reminded me of it and brought to the forefront why I put so much time into seeing as much theatre as I can.
Now back to Theatrical! It’s just so cute. The romance between Hope and Luke had me swooning and I really felt as though I was standing alongside Hope and she worked and worked to help get the show open. Hope’s determination is inspiration for anyone hoping to get into theatre and she shows us just how much hard work goes on behind the scenes. So much of what makes a great production is the work that’s gone on in the rehearsal room which of course an audience never see, so this book is not only a celebration of theatre but of the unsung hero’s of the stage.
Theatrical is a brilliant read for any stagey, romance lover. You’ll find yourself willing everything to run smoothly with the show and will definitely finish the book with a newfound appreciation for the crew who work tirelessly behind the scenes. If you want a swoon-filled summer read then pick up Theatrical and if you’re not already a theatre fan then this might just be the book to make you truly stagey!
Theatrical is available now, more information can be found here.
Maggie gave us an exclusive and very interesting deep dive into her research for this book which can be found here.
Review by Editor, Olivia Mitchell