Melbourne, Australia, 1909: faced with the prospect of employment in either the match factory or the jam factory, 13-year old Poesy Swift auditions for a children’s theatre company that specialises in popular music-hall songs.
Before she knows it, she’s on a two-year tour through Asia. At first it’s all an adventure, but by the time they reach south India, many of them have been disciplined by the manager and their performances hide enormous turmoil backstage. At the end of their last show, all but two of the children turn on their minders and go on strike, then walk out into the hot Madras night.
Wow, I really am starting 2012 off on a good book run I am a big fan of historical fiction but it takes a really fantastically written historical book for me to really love it.
Lets just say, I loved this book.
It was charming, it was sweet but it was also an emotional adventure and a harrowing coming of age story for two different young girls. As well as this, it's fantastically well researched as it's based on a real travelling performing troupe and the writing is understandable to readers but the voices and language that was used really takes you back to the early 20th century into the minds of these two young girls.
At times I got a little confused, there were a lot of characters introduced and a lot had similar names. I was helped by the character list at the beginning of my ARC copy and I found myself flicking back to it a lot. I really did like most of the characters, the naive Poesy annoyed me at times because she was clueless, but back in that period young girls were quite innocent and naive so it was believable, I actually loved the character of Tilly despite the fact that she is quite selfish I loved how driven and ambitious she was. My favorite character had to be Charlie who was so sweet and the bad guy was a horrible, easy to hate person.
The book is narrated through two characters - Tilly and Poesy, to start with I was a little confused about who was narrating but slowly their voices began to become more recognisable as we slowly got to know more about their character.
Overall, a fantastic read, both fun and heart-wrenching i was gripped by the story. I had trouble with getting my head around all of the characters but was awed by how well Murray wrote a book in the voice of a young girl from hundred years ago.
Overall Rating: A-
Released 1st January 2012 through Templar.
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.