- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Fourth Estate (12 Jan. 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0008170576
- ISBN-13: 978-0008170578
- Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 2.9 x 22.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 57 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 532,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Miss Treadway & the Field of Stars Hardcover – 9 Feb 2017
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‘A fabulous depiction of a London where the 'Swinging Sixties' hides a darker more complicated story of prejudice and struggle. I loved the strong women and evocative writing from an author offering more questions than clues’ Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
‘A fabulous period piece, expertly evoked, that looks at race, identity, isolation and acceptance, and everyone’s need to find love’ Daily Mail
‘Well researched and well crafted’ Observer
‘A deftly assured debut, full of layers and characters that come alive in a few vivid sentences. I can’t wait to read more from Miranda Emmerson’ Red
‘A zippy read set in the Swinging Sixties’ Good Housekeeping
About the Author
Miranda Emmerson is a playwright and author living in Wales. She has written numerous drama adaptations for BBC Radio 4 as well as some highly-acclaimed original drama. Miss Treadway & The Field of Stars is her first novel.
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It's a book about life in the early Sixties, London, winter and characters who, for various reasons, feel they don't fit in. I found the story intriguing – one that really drew me in. And I liked the author's spare writing style too. I look forward to Miranda Emmerson's next book.
At first this makes headline news but then the disappearance is pushed off the front page of the newspapers by the activities of the Moors Murderers - this is 1965. No one seems to care what has happened to Iolanthe except Anna and Detective Sergeant Barney Hayes. Then a Jamaican accountant Anna meets while she is searching for Iolanthe joins the hunt. This will lead them to all sorts of places and difficult situations.
The book paints an interesting picture of London in the mid sixties. There is racism, police brutality and illegal abortions but there is also Carnaby Street and black and white fashions. All the main characters are to a certain extent misfits - even Anna - who has had a much more chequered life than is at first revealed. I found this a fascinating read and I got totally involved with the characters and I wanted things to work out for them. The book is amusing and poignant by turns and it is one of those books which doesn't really fit into any particular genre.
The story, set in late 1965 is ostensibly about the disappearance of an actress and the attempts of her dresser (the eponymous Anna Treadway) and the police to locate her. In fact, it is largely about the characters of the story and lengthy back-stories are rather ploddingly revealed of Anna herself, a West Indian man whom she meets, a Cypriot café-owner, a Northern Irish police sergeant and so on and so on. It was all reasonably competently done, but I never became involved enough in the characters to care sufficiently so it just got rather boring, I'm afraid.
Part of the problem is the period setting. I am, sadly, old enough to remember the mid-60s, and this just didn't feel like that time to me. Again, it wasn't badly done as such; there were only a few anachronisms in speech and nothing stood out as being out of place, but I never got any real sense of period either. There are some slightly clunky topical references to try to establish the period, but I just never felt that I was there somehow.
This is not an actively bad book by any means. Miranda Emerson writes decent prose and it's all perfectly competent, but I just couldn't find any real period atmosphere or interest in the characters. Others have plainly enjoyed this far more than I did, but I can't really recommend it.
(I received an ARC via Netgalley.)
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MISS TREADWAY & THE FIELD OF STARS by Miranda Emmerson is a deeply emotive mystery that will make you stop in your tracks, and soak in every word and...Read more