Author: Joseph O'Connor
Published by: Europa Editions on Jun. 26, 2020
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: Publishers Group Canada
Book Rating: 10/10
Shadowplay by New York Times best-selling author, Joseph O’Connor, is set during the golden age of West End theater in a London shaken by the crimes of Jack the Ripper.
Henry Irving is Victorian London’s most celebrated actor and theater impresario. He has introduced groundbreaking ideas to the theater, bringing to the stage performances that are spectacular, shocking, and always entertaining. When Irving decides to open his own London theater with the goal of making it the greatest playhouse on earth, he hires a young Dublin clerk harboring literary ambitions by the name of Bram Stoker to manage it. As Irving’s theater grows in reputation and financial solvency, he lures to his company of mummers the century’s most beloved actress, the dazzlingly talented leading lady Ellen Terry, who nightly casts a spell not only on her audiences but also on Stoker and Irving both.
Bram Stoker’s extraordinary experiences at the Lyceum Theatre, his early morning walks on the streets of a London terrorized by a serial killer, his long, tempestuous relationship with Irving, and the closeness he finds with Ellen Terry, inspire him to write DRACULA, the most iconic and best-selling supernatural tale ever published.
A magnificent portrait both of lamp-lit London and of lives and loves enacted on the stage, Shadowplay’s rich prose, incomparable storytelling, and vivid characters will linger in readers’ hearts and minds for many years.
Immersive, evocative, and colourful!
Shadowplay is a beautiful, powerful, alluring interpretation that sweeps you away to London in the late 1800s and into the life of Bram Stroker, from his employment as manager of the Lyceum Theatre, his tumultuous relationships with both his employer, Henry Irving and the celebrated actress Ellen Terry, to his ultimately writing the infamous Dracula.
The prose is expressive and eloquent. The characters are exceptionally drawn, complex, and authentic. And the plot set to the backdrop of a city terrorized by Jack the Ripper and using an intriguing mixture of narration, letters, diary entries, and transcripts is an exceptionally absorbing tale of life, loss, loneliness, loyalty, friendship, desires, aspirations, heartache, drama, and love in all its different forms.
Overall, Shadowplay is a vivid, pensive, compelling story by O’Connor that does a remarkable job of highlighting his considerable knowledge and impressive research into these renowned historical figures whose lives and contribution to the dramatic and literary worlds are often unknown or unfortunately long forgotten.
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Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.