Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars by Miranda Emmerson


Reviewed from Kindle

Sadly, I found this book to be somewhat confusing, at times I wasn't sure what exactly it was trying to be. A leading actress disappears and doesn't come back for the next performance, nor any other performance. Her dresser Anna Treadway is beside herself trying to locate the actress or a reason for her disappearance and is understandably worried.

I think my confusion stems from timing, this is the '60s in London, not the '20s or '40s and I found myself floundering with the realization that at times I wasn't sure what decade I was in. The basic missing person and hunt for her is seemingly easy enough to deal with, but so many characters who all seem to be gravely concerned and want to help Anna, just seem to complicate matters. They are all from different cultures and also appear to want to be in the background as much as possible for racial reasons and the book seems to segue into their individual fears and hidden lives.

I was prepared to really enjoy this book, it seemed lively and fun but quickly changed. Anna, who it would seem is cast as poor and class-ridden actually takes charge of the search, but gradually takes on other so-called "different" friends in her search, I think the book is trying too hard to cover too many problematic racial, sexual, and similar prejudices and loses its way, with the exception of Anna, who appears to become stronger as time goes by. Granted, I don't know the country's judicial approach to some of the problems, but they seemed to come from a different time. I really wanted to like this book, it would be a great mystery, if there weren't so many characters with their own idiocyncrasies and problems in the way. As a first novel, I would encourage the author to consider whether she wants more mystery (though there was a good mystery and some surprises) and/or reduce some of the parade of extraneous bit-players. (This last comment comes from my perception while reading; the author, in fact, has taken on a very full story for her first novel and I will happily attempt another story by her).

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