Title: When the Curtain Falls
Author: Carrie Hope Fletcher
Genre: Teen Fiction, Romance, Magical Realism
As a girl growing up in the Noughties, I was around when the first wave of YouTube hit the teenage community. And through that medium, I used to watch people like Charlieissocoolike, Nerimon, The Vlog Brothers and AllTheGlitters21 as they waded through this unfamiliar world of vlogging.
Nowadays, anybody with a camera function on their phone can be a YouTuber, and gone is the majesty of those early day YouTubers. But there is one YouTuber that I’ve followed since those early days, and that is Carrie Hope Fletcher.
Now Carrie only started her YouTube journey in 2011, so that doesn’t really make her an OG – but I’ve watched her since she first started doing covers on YouTube, got her dream job in Les Mis etc.
And this year, she released her fourth book (which I was lucky enough to receive during a Meet-and-Greet) and I thought I’d fall in love with it as much as I did with her first novel On The Other Side.
But as much as I love Carrie, I think my time spent with her as an author is coming to a close.
Set in the magical world of theatre, When The Curtain Falls is penned as a mixture between Moulin Rouge! and Phantom of the Opera. And I can see why these comparisons have been made.
During this novel, the reader explores the production of When the Curtain Falls – a seemingly doomed production that originally aired in the early 50s, and is now being brought back to life 2018. The story is based around star-crossed lovers – with Oscar and Olive being the modern-day version, and their 50’s counterparts Walter and Fawn. Throw in a little bit of intrigue, scandal, ghosts and magic and you’ve got yourself an interesting premise, right?
Well, despite it clearly being a love letter to the theatre, Carrie hasn’t quite nailed it.
As her first novel came out in 2015, I was expecting a natural progression of writing. But no. This novel is written in the exact same, slightly clunky and heavily romance based way as the first one was. But unlike On the Other Side (which made me weep in a coffee shop), I think I’ve changed since 2015, and simply grown out of it.
I’ve already read a few reviews of this book already, and I must say that I agree with what other people are saying. There wasn’t enough Walter and Fawn against the boring whininess of Oscar and Olive. With Walter and Fawn, you really got a sense of the urgency and secrecy of their romance. Whereas Oscar and Olive just seem a lot more one-dimensional and less interesting. Walter and Fawn had societal differences, money, wealth and ‘grown-up’ issues to deal with as they navigate their romance. But with Oscar and Olive, there isn’t that. There’s just a background noise of being a slight celebrity against the average Joe and how gossip spreads around the social media world.
With Walter and Fawn, you really got a sense of the urgency and secrecy of their romance. Whereas Oscar and Olive just seem a lot more one-dimensional and less interesting. Walter and Fawn had societal differences, money, wealth and ‘grown-up’ issues to deal with as they navigate their romance. But with Oscar and Olive, there isn’t that. There’s just a background noise of being a slight celebrity against the average Joe and how gossip spreads around the social media world.
This just doesn’t appeal to me, and I wish Carrie did it the other way around.
However, despite my obvious disappointment towards this story, there are some good points.
I’m not a musical theatre kid at all. But I’ve always loved going to the theatre and seeing live shows. So I was interested to see how, from an experienced musical theatre luvvie like Carrie is, the world is run.
During the meet and greet/Q&A, Carrie divulged that there were quite a few experiences that she’s had that she’s slotted in and adapted to this novel. So that was pretty interesting to read.
And like I’ve said before in my Book of Hidden Things review, I can’t stand magical realism. But Carrie is the only author I’ve read that makes me enjoy reading about it. So that’s definitely a plus point.
So, if you like easy to read, pretty twee romances, then I would 100% pick up When the Curtain Falls. It’s perfect before bedtime- like you want to have a fairly good story, but nothing too taxing.