This is my first Carrie Hope Fletcher book and I really enjoyed her writing style. It was a lovely comination of precise and metaphor.
The last year or so, I have really struggled with reading physical copies of books because of concentration levels, and I have relied heavily on audiobooks. When the Curtain Falls is the first novel in over a year that I was able to read in physical form from cover to cover. I was so captured by Olive and Oscar’s story that the pages kept turning and the next thing I knew I had reached the last page and it was nearly four in the morning. I read it in one sitting and was completely lost in the West End theatre world.
In 1952 two young lovers meet, in secret, at the beautiful Southern Cross theatre in the very heart of London’s West End. Their relationship is made up of clandestine meetings and stolen moments because there is someone who will make them suffer if he discovers she is no longer ‘his’. But life in the theatre doesn’t always go according to plan and tragedy and heartache are waiting in the wings for all the players . . .
Almost seventy years later, a new production of When the Curtain Falls arrives at the theatre, bringing with it Oscar Bright and Olive Green and their budding romance. Very soon, though, strange things begin to happen and they learn about the ghost that’s haunted the theatre since 1952, a ghost who can only be seen on one night of the year. Except the ghost is appearing more often and seems hell bent on sabotaging Oscar and Olive. The young couple realise they need to right that wrong from years gone by, but can they save themselves before history repeats itself and tragedy strikes once more?
The majority of the story is set in the present day with Olive and Oscar, and some of it is set in 1952 with Walter and Fawn. I loved Olive and Oscar’s budding romance. Their sections of the story were definitely more enjoyable for me. I did feel as if the romance kept going round in circles, but I couldn’t ever pin point who’s side I was in because things were changing too quickly for me to ever decide.
Throughout the novel, the reader is constantly reminded that in the theatre world, you are immersed, things happen quickly and are more intense – particularly relationships, romantic or platonic. I felt like this happens with the novel too. The reader is thrown into this world where everything is hightened. When it was mentioned that they had only been seeing eachother for a month, I was suprised and felt like it had been much longer. I really felt immersed into the world and like the intensity had transferred from the pages and forced me to exoerience it too. This really added to my reading experience and made it more enjoyable.
With the 1952 perspective, I felt a little but jarred. It was a sudden switch in the middle of the book from present day to the past. I didn’t enjoy these sections as much, I felt like I didn’t know the character of Fawn or young Walter enough to really care about their part of the story as much as Olive and Oscar’s story. It did take a way some of my reading experience. Though, I do see how it was neccessary for the continuation of the overall story, I felt as if it could have been done in smaller sections thorughout the novel with snippets rather than a few chapters shoved in middle of the present day text.
There is also a constant paranormal element, really focusing on the stories that every theatre in the West End is haunted. I really liked this element and felt like it added some suspenseto the novel and I also just enjoyed the spookiness and ghostly vibes. However, towards the end it did get a bit too much and actually ruined the story for me a little bit.
Overall, I gave this book 4/5 stars. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick, but enjoyable read. I have actually ordered Carrie Hope Fletcher’s other books and I can’t wait to read them.