Genre: Historical Fiction
One day, Vanessa would return and unwrap her father’s secrets. She might even remember the mysterious scarred woman’s name, and push the little gold key that she’d been given at her father’s graveside into a lock and hear it click…
London 1945, and as victory unfurls throughout Europe, a young war widow steps aboard a train in search of a new life. Clutching the key to an unknown inheritance, Vanessa Kingcourt can no longer ignore the pull of the threads that draw her to the old Farren Theatre; an enchanted place, seeped in memories of her actor father and of Eva, the seamstress who took a lock of her hair with a promise she would return.
Now owned by troubled ex-sea captain, Alistair, The Farren is in need of a Wardrobe Mistress and a new lease of life. With no experience and no budget for supplies, Vanessa must use her intuition to create beautiful, elaborate costumes from whatever scraps of silk and thread survived the blitz. It’s a seemingly impossible task, but a welcome distraction as she struggles to resist Alistair’s advances.
The war may be over, but for Vanessa the heart-ache has only just begun – what she discovers will unravel family secrets sewn deep into the very fabric of the London theatre scene. Will she repeat the same terrible mistakes her father made? Will she ever dare to love again?
I have to start by wishing the author a very happy publication day! The Wardrobe Mistress was an absolutely gorgeous read with vivid imagery, beautiful, polished writing and a lovely story that stole a little piece of my heart.
It’s set in England just after the end of World War Two and Vanessa is a young woman who has had a painful and troubling life. The only clear memory she has of her father is going to the theater with him where she met the wardrobe mistress after an enchanting evening. Years later, she is determined to try and unlock the secrets of both her fathers past and her own so she decides to try and get a job as a wardrobe mistress herself.
There was an air of mystery surrounding Vanessa and her past and Evans slowly and painstakingly reveals the secrets throughout the book, keeping me engaged and waiting on pins and needles the whole time. I really liked her as a character and wanted her to find answers and her own happiness. Her romance with Alistair was fraught with drama and complications, which always draws me in deeper.
I loved the setting of the theater and enjoyed the eccentric cast of characters that worked there. Evans writes beautifully and I could easily picture the theater, she truly brought everything to life. This was an emotional read filled with intrigue and tension and I really liked how it all came together in the end.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.