Saturday, March 27, 2021

A Snowfall of Silver by Laura Wood - coming of age in Earnest

Title: A Snowfall of Silver
Author: Laura Wood
Publication: Scholastic UK, paperback, 2020
Genre: YA
Setting: 1930s England
Description: Freya, the younger sister of Lou from A Sky Painted Gold, has always wanted to be an actress, so leaves Cornwall dramatically at 18, fortuitously meeting Kit McKay on the train to London. Kit is an aspiring playwright about to stage-manage a touring theatrical company and helps Freya secure a position as a lowly wardrobe assistant. This gives her the opportunity to experience the glamor of the theatre as well as the hard work behind the scenes, as a first step to making her dreams come true . . .

My Impression: This charming novel and Freya reminded me of one of those frothy drinks I see people ordering at Starbucks – something insubstantial and delicious to savor! It doesn’t hurt that the company is performing The Importance of Being Earnest, one of my favorite plays.
It feels almost as if I am watching myself, hovering above the scene and looking down on my body as words come out of my mouth. I’m so painfully, crushingly aware that what is happening right now in this moment is a dream come true. Or, I suppose it could be the champagne – never really having drunk much before, I can’t be certain.
Freya is way over the top in her burning desire to be an actress, even curtseying to the producer in her eagerness to impress, but her adventures as a wardrobe assistant and the entertaining look behind the scenes are well done, and Freya impresses the reader by having a surprisingly level head when it matters.
It is a delicious feeling, being part of this team. I hadn’t realized until we came to Oxford how alone I had always been. I never thought of myself as lonely – I was part of a big, noisy family, and I had my books, my costumes, my plays. Thanks to them I spoke with kings and villains and saints, I traveled to Italy, to France, to America. It had all felt so real to me, and yet now that I am here, in the land of the living, this whirlpool of creativity and energy and laughter, I am starting to understand how insular it was.
Wood’s earlier book, A Sky Painted Gold, read like an homage to I Capture the Castle so it is a pretty safe bet she has also read The Town in Bloom by Dodie Smith, which I enjoyed in February. Both involve attractive young women, exactly 18, who come to London to make their fortune on the stage and have to make adjustments to their dreams; both also provide a vivid portrayal of the underside of the theatre. I liked The Town in Bloom, although it seemed more melancholy than humorous, partly because most of it is told as an almost rueful flashback and does not provide a traditional happy ending (and I hated that the heroine was known as Mouse). Of course, Town was written for adults, not a YA audience, but Wood does not completely avoid difficult topics.

Quibble: I usually don’t like books written in the present tense, although Wood’s use is in keeping with the heroine's perpetually breathless quality. Also, I don’t understand why the editor didn’t fix all the places where the author writes, “makes Nora and I laugh” and otherwise uses “I” when “me” is called for.  I read two books in a row where "me" was used incorrectly on multiple occasions, which irritated me.  

Link: Kindle * Book Depository
Source: Personal copy. This is my sixth book in the 2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader and my final book for Lory's Reading the Theatre Month.   Recommended.


Cath said...

So pleased you're enjoying your Theatre reading challenge so much! As I said before, it's not my thing, but I am enjoying your reviews and this one sounds very good indeed. And I've just remembered that one of my favourite books, The Visage Mask by Diana Norman, is about The Restoration stage at the time of Charles II and includes one of my favourite first lines:

'Penitence Hurd and the Plague arrived in London on the same day'.

Excellent book, time I reread it I think.

CLM said...

Thanks for following along! I am also a Diana Norman fan but have never come across a copy of that one. I will have to keep my eyes open for it!

Lory said...

I do not really mind books written in the present tense as long as they are not annoying in other ways. The "me/I" problem is ubiquitous.

Jeanne said...

Love your description of this book as "something insubstantial and delicious to savor."

Judy Krueger said...

Sounds great. I love I Capture the Castle! Amused and heartened by your grammar quibbles. A friend of mine and I call ourselves The Grammar Police.

Lex @ Lexlingua said...

I adore Importance of Being Earnest too. So just the reference to that play makes this book look very appealing. :-) ~Lex

TracyK said...

I like those quotes a lot. I am sure that this would be a very good read. (Often I have problems with present tense, also.)