I had such a tough job picking a book for BotW this week, because I really didn’t read anything that I whole-heartedly loved. I started reading a lot of books and then gave up on them, and I finished a few – including a real stinker. But in the end I plumped for Miss Treadway & the Field of Stars by Miranda Emmerson.
Anna Treadway is a dresser, working in a London theatre and living above a Turkish cafe in Soho in 1965. When the actress who she works with disappears, she sets out to try and find her as the trail grows cold and the newspapers lose interest. As she hunts for the mysterious Iolanthe Green she finds herself in new world of jazz clubs, police cells and backstreet doctors.
Whilst this wasn’t perfect, it was an interesting idea and a great cast of diverse characters. It’s got an interesting mystery that’s well thought through and several different plot strands which tie together quite nicely. Underneath the mystery of where Iolanthe has gone there are issues of prejudice and race and people struggling to be heard and believed. From the look of the (UK) cover and some of the write ups I was expecting it to be ultimately more uplifting, but perhaps given the issues that it’s dealing with, I was being unrealistic.
This is Miranda Emmerson’s first novel and it does a great job of creating the atmosphere of 1960s London and the grimier side of life. In fact that was what I liked best about it – the mix of people thrown together, some times living side by side without ever intersecting. I think I would have liked more of Anna’s backstory and I wanted a bit more of what happened next at the end, but I pretty much always want more of what happened next at the end!
My copy came via NetGalley, but you can get Miss Treadway & the Field of Stars from Amazon, Foyles and Waterstones or on Kindle and Kobo. It only came out a couple of weeks back so it’s hardcover and the ebooks are priced accordingly too I’m afraid. The paperback is out in July, so it may drop a little then, if you want to add it to your wishlist and wait it out.