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The Whalebone Theatre: A novel door Joanna…
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The Whalebone Theatre: A novel (origineel 2022; editie 2022)

door Joanna Quinn (Auteur)

LedenBesprekingenPopulariteitGemiddelde beoordelingAanhalingen
1265191,271 (3.89)7
A transporting, irresistible debut novel that takes its heroine, Cristabel Seagrave, from the gargantuan cavity of a beached whale into undercover operations during World War II--a story of love, bravery, lost innocence, and self-transformation. "Utterly heartbreaking and joyous ... I just disappeared into The Whalebone Theatre and didn't want to leave." --Jo Baker, author of Longbourn One blustery night in 1928, a whale washes up on the shores of the English Channel. By law, it belongs to the King, but twelve-year-old orphan Cristabel Seagrave has other plans. She and the rest of the household--her sister, Flossie; her brother, Digby, long-awaited heir to Chilcombe manor; Maudie Kitcat, kitchen maid; Taras, visiting artist--build a theatre from the beast's skeletal rib cage. Within the Whalebone Theatre, Cristabel can escape her feckless stepparents and brisk governesses, and her imagination comes to life. As Cristabel grows into a headstrong young woman, World War II rears its head. She and Digby become British secret agents on separate missions in Nazi-occupied France--a more dangerous kind of playacting, it turns out, and one that threatens to tear the family apart.… (meer)
Lid:onceinabluemoon
Titel:The Whalebone Theatre: A novel
Auteurs:Joanna Quinn (Auteur)
Info:Knopf (2022), 576 pages
Verzamelingen:Jouw bibliotheek
Waardering:****
Trefwoorden:Read 2022

Informatie over het werk

The Whalebone Theatre door Joanna Quinn (2022)

Onlangs toegevoegd doorabursi, besloten bibliotheek, joyandryan, Serpel, JeanHackel, JoeB1934, Conway_Library
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Toon 4 van 4
This riveting, multigenerational saga has at its center a very dysfunctional wealthy English family. From the beginning pages, when a husband marries a woman he does not love in order to bear a son, to three half-siblings being raised among the family's bohemian artist proteges, to the war that rips them all apart and changes everything, this novel's characters ache for something they don't have.

At the heart of all of this is Christabel. She's the unwanted daughter who escapes her French nanny to run wild. She's the director of the plays at the makeshift theater during their bohemian summers, striding around with a toy sword, giving orders. Then she becomes the girl with the real gun and cyanide capsules undercover in occupied France, thanks to her perfect French pronunciation.

After the war takes its toll, the remaining characters gather at their large manor house to discuss the future of the family property that no longer feels like home.

This is a slow-paced, family drama where the feelings sneak up on you. These characters suffer, making the reader suffer too. It's a story about nostalgia, loss, grief and moving on.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advance review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  Asingrey | Oct 22, 2022 |
I really loved this story that spanned the lifetimes of three English children with an unusual family background. Beginning in 1928, when a whale washes up on the shores of the English Channel near Chilcombe manor, a little girl named Christabel is the first to discover it and as a result, she feels it belongs to her. Luckily for Christabel, the whale is not claimed by the King and eventually she turns the bones of the whale into a theatre with the help of her siblings and a few of the adults of the manor.

Every summer, they put on a production, inviting the local residents. Eventually the Whalebone Theatre becomes well-known around the area. Along with Flossie and Digby, Christabel is the driving force of the theatre productions.

As the years pass, the children grow up and the war looms on the horizon. With it comes a pause in the life of the Whalebone Theatre. Digby goes off to war, Flossie stays at Chilcombe growing a garden and Christabel joins the war effort, eventually becoming a part of the resistance movement in France.

As the war continues, Digby and Christabel find themselves working together to liberate France. The story concerning the war was unlike most I have read about. Readers do not enter the concentration camps, but mostly experience the war as English residents. Digby and Christabel enter the thick of the war, but they are working undercover.

This was such an unusual story, with many references to books, plays and music, with some difficult times and relationships interspersed throughout.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Hopf Doubleday Publishing Group for allowing me to read an advance copy. I am happy to offer my honest review. ( )
  tamidale | Oct 21, 2022 |
An excellent read (audiobook). Lots of small details about each character make this rich and rewarding. I love how the world of children in an adult world is evoked, and the coming and going of various characters fills out the corners of the world just like in real life. Interesting transitions between generations as the author needs to make time pass, she does so by cataloging life events, which sounds trite but works well. I'm not the biggest fiction reader, but this was worth the effort. Also does a great job with period detail, and doesn't turn away from the gritty reality of being a spy for the Resistance in WWII. ( )
  jsmick | Oct 19, 2022 |
The three Seagrave children are born and brought up in the "big house" on a Dorset country estate between the world wars. Cristabel and Flossie are aware from the beginning that just by being girls they are a disappointment. Cristabel's mother died soon after she was born and she has grown up making her own entertainment, with a young maid and other servants and finding toys hidden out of sight. Her father Jasper marries a beautiful young debutante, Rosalind, but their baby girl is apparently so unappealing she is nicknamed the Veg. Finally Digby is the longed for heir.

The children grow up making their own games and reading plays, and when Cristabel finds a whale washed up on the beach and meets a group of eccentric bohemians who become regular visitors to Chilcombe, she takes the opportunity to start putting on theatre productions. Until the war interavenes.

This debut novel brings several storylines together, and I'm not sure that this always works completely, but Cristabel's determination to make the most of the freedom that she has, as a result of an apparently quite neglectful upbringing, makes her a fascinating if rather spiky character. Her apparently more passive sister gradually also comes into her own. Digby is much loved but generally portrayed through the eyes of the other characters.

The WWII story is already very thoroughly explored in fiction, rationing and war work on the home front, and eventually a chance to take part in something more exciting in France for Cristabel. There is also much frustration and uncertainty and new people for the sisters to care about but also to worry for.

Once this got to the top of my reading pile, I did find it to be an enjoyable page turner and would certainly pick up Joanna Quinn's next novel. ( )
  elkiedee | Oct 7, 2022 |
Toon 4 van 4
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Somewhere along the diminishing coastline lies his home. His ancient home containing a wife he doesn’t love and a child he doesn’t know how to love and an empty space where his love used to be.
If you find a way to give people what they want, they let you in, thinks Cristabel. If you make a creature to hide inside, they open the doors and pull you through.
The crisp displays of October, all its smart oranges and yellows, have spoiled and scattered about as November rushes in, dragging winter behind it like a trail of rattling cans.
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A transporting, irresistible debut novel that takes its heroine, Cristabel Seagrave, from the gargantuan cavity of a beached whale into undercover operations during World War II--a story of love, bravery, lost innocence, and self-transformation. "Utterly heartbreaking and joyous ... I just disappeared into The Whalebone Theatre and didn't want to leave." --Jo Baker, author of Longbourn One blustery night in 1928, a whale washes up on the shores of the English Channel. By law, it belongs to the King, but twelve-year-old orphan Cristabel Seagrave has other plans. She and the rest of the household--her sister, Flossie; her brother, Digby, long-awaited heir to Chilcombe manor; Maudie Kitcat, kitchen maid; Taras, visiting artist--build a theatre from the beast's skeletal rib cage. Within the Whalebone Theatre, Cristabel can escape her feckless stepparents and brisk governesses, and her imagination comes to life. As Cristabel grows into a headstrong young woman, World War II rears its head. She and Digby become British secret agents on separate missions in Nazi-occupied France--a more dangerous kind of playacting, it turns out, and one that threatens to tear the family apart.

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