A dynamic and thought-provoking historical drama that hits all the right notes as it explores social issues, relationships, and self-identity.
This magical debut set in Victorian London is bold and profound yet somehow uncomplicated as it lays out a mosaic of vibrant themes and characters for your reading pleasure. Star theatre performer Zillah has climbed out of the slums, so while uncomfortable with the part she performs, she does what it takes to remain the headline act until one day she is faced with a life-altering and dangerous decision. Zillah tells her own story, I immediately heard her voice, so vibrant and alive. Lianne Dillsworth ensures all of the characters have an individual vital energy, they can be seen, felt, sensed. While the era throws itself around you and immerses you in all things Victorian, it feels as though the human responses are timeless. That feeling echoes through the plot as Zillah’s mixed heritage, and the fact that she was born free in London, marks her as different. All of humanities character traits are on offer from greed, selfishness, ignorance and indifference through to empathy, kindness, and courage. The mystery aspect of the plot was thrilling, yet it was Zillah’s personal journey that will stay with me and that is why I’ve chosen this novel as a Liz Pick of the Month. Vivacious, provocative, and compelling, Theatre of Marvels comes with a standing ovation stamp of approval from me.
Behind the spectacle there are always secrets.
Unruly crowds descend on Crillick's Variety Theatre. A black, British actress, Zillah, is headlining tonight. An orphan from the slums of St Giles, her rise to stardom is her ticket out - to be gawped and gazed at is a price she's willing to pay.
Rising up the echelons of society is everything Zillah has ever dreamed of. But when a new stage act disappears, Zillah is haunted by a feeling that something is amiss. Is the woman in danger?
Her pursuit of the truth takes her into the underbelly of the city - from gas-lit streets to the sumptuous parlours of Mayfair - as she seeks the help of notorious criminals from her past and finds herself torn between two powerful admirers.
Caught in a labyrinth of dangerous truths, will Zillah face ruin - or will she be the maker of her fate?
A deliciously immersive tale, Theatre of Marvels whisks you on an unforgettable journey across Victorian London in this bold exploration of race, class and gothic spectacle.
|Publication date:||28th April 2022|
|Publisher:||Hutchinson Heinemann an imprint of Cornerstone|
|Primary Genre||Historical fiction|
Closing date: 05/06/2022
Richly evocative and glittering with atmosphere, this tale of ambition and identity had me gripped from start to finish -- Stacey Halls
Theatre of Marvels is a fascinating, empowering story of a young woman's search for identity and justice in Victorian London, a world which Lianne Dillsworth evokes so richly. - Jennifer Saint, Sunday Times bestselling author of Ariadne
Loved Lianne Dillsworth's Theatre of Marvels. A gripping story about identity and belonging with a strong sense of place. Can't wait for everybody to meet Zillah who is such strong and nuanced heroine. - Laure Van Rensburg
A story that shines a spotlight into the shadows of the 19th century, while also exploring very relevant themes of identity. So fantastic to read a novel that centres POC in the Victorian era. Loved it!! - Saara El-Arifi
Startling, original and an utterly compelling novel which subtly navigates the core issues of race, gender and class . . . I'm absolutely spellbound by Zillah! - Mary Chamberlain