on 20 August 2013
I am a fan of Shirley Conran, having read Savages some years ago. This was nothing like Savages, and, to be honest, was a bit of a disappointment to me. Mimi joins the Jolly Troupers at 13 to escape from a cruel home life. There she meets Betsy and her mother, and both girls travel the country with the troupe, entertaining audiences with their singing.
The girls are best friends until something dreadful happens which sets them both off on a spiral of revenge, one against the other. Pride and stubbornness prevents the girls from making up their quarrel and it escalates for decades, affecting relationships with future husbands and family until something else happens and the two grown women have the chance to put everything behind them and start again.
I felt the story wandered off the plot too many times, although it gave the reader a fascinating glimpse of theatre life in the early 20th century, and Hollywood film making in infancy. I found myself getting bored quite frequently and skimmed over some pages to get back to the plot.
I felt that the end, when it came, was unsatisfactory and left much unsaid.
on 31 August 2013
I've only read one of Shirley Conran's and decided to give this one a try and I'm glad I did. It tells the story of Mimi who struggles to create a life for herself after being the victim of an unhappy home life, but we are also introduced to other in-depth complex characters such as Baz and aristocrat Toby who are struggling to reconcile their homosexual relationship with society. It's a story of love, loss, and redemption and I thoroughly enjoyed it.