Having enjoyed Michael Ball’s singing and presenting skills for many years, I was excited to hear he had written his first novel and I was eager to read it.
It is set in 1922 and unsurprisingly, the story revolves around a theatre – The Empire. Early on, we find out Lady Lillian Lassiter’s husband has died. Lillian owns The Empire theatre and was previously a showgirl before marrying the older Sir Barnabas Lassiter.
There are a lot of characters to get to know! (There’s a helpful list at the start of the book, but this isn’t easy to go back to on the Kindle.) There’s a lot going on and initially, it’s all rather confusing. But most of them eventually end up involved with The Empire somehow or other.
Jack Treadwell comes back to England following a time as a prisoner of war. His friend Walter suggests he apply for the job of stage doorman at The Empire.
Joseph P. Allerdyce owns many theatres, cinemas and music halls and now intends to go after The Empire, following Sir Barnabas Lassiter’s death.
Miss Grace Hawkins works at The Empire as the manager Mr Mangrave’s assistant. She soon becomes firm friends with Jack and the two of them set about trying to save the theatre. The only production they can hire is an awful musical version of Macbeth, but can they turn things around and give The Empire a chance at survival, competing against the power of Joe Allerdyce?
Once I got my head round all the characters and worked out what was happening, I really enjoyed this. I love the setting of the theatre and all the people involved in it. Jack is a great character and I loved Grace too and the funny dog Ollie. And who could fail to fall in love with Billy Barlow? Joe Allerdyce is a real boo-hiss panto villain, easy to picture and even easier to hate.
It’s a really good read, especially for anyone interested in all aspects of the theatre, as you don’t only get the story of the performers, but also those of the crew and backstage.
Welcome to The Empire theatre
1922. When Jack Treadwell arrives at The Empire, in the middle of a rehearsal, he is instantly mesmerised. But amid the glitz and glamour, he soon learns that the true magic of the theatre lies in its cast of characters – both on stage and behind the scenes.
There’s stunning starlet Stella Stanmore and Hollywood heartthrob Lancelot Drake; and Ruby Rowntree, who keeps the music playing, while Lady Lillian Lassiter, theatre owner and former showgirl, is determined to take on a bigger role. And then there’s cool, competent Grace Hawkins, without whom the show would never go on . . . could she be the leading lady Jack is looking for?
When long-held rivalries threaten The Empire’s future, tensions rise along with the curtain. There is treachery at the heart of the company and a shocking secret waiting in the wings. Can Jack discover the truth before it’s too late, and the theatre he loves goes dark?
Musical theatre legend Michael Ball brings his trademark warmth, wit and glamour to this, his debut novel.
Enjoy the show!
Purchase Links – http://unbouncepages.com/Michael-ball/
Author Bio – Michael Ball OBE is a singer, actor, presenter and now author. He’s been a star of musical theatre for over three decades, winning the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical twice, he’s also won two BRIT awards and been nominated for a Grammy. Michael regularly sells out both his solo tours and his Ball & Boe shows with Alfie Boe and has multiple platinum albums. The Empire is his first novel.