For the unabashed theater geeks and nerds
Dear Miss Cushman by Paula Martinac is a historical coming of age story set in 1850s New York City. 18-year old Georgiana (Georgie) Cartwright dreams of continuing her father’s theater career. But when his alcohol abuse makes him into a public disgrace he does a runner, leaving the family without an income. Georgiana steps up to take his place albeit under her mother’s maiden name to avoid any scandal.
Even though her mother wants both of her daughters to marry well, all Georgie wants is to have a career on stage and live independently much like her idol, the famous actress Charlotte Cushman. She starts out as a supporting actress in the theater company of Mr. Worth, the very same man who fired her father. Together with her new friends, young Georgie learns the ins and outs of working at the Prince and to stay clear of Mr. Worth’s increasingly roving hands.
I thought the slow burn romance between her and struggling playwright Clementine (Clem) Scarborough was very sweet. Georgie had to acknowledge some truths about herself, but when she did there was no stopping this young love. Predatory Mr. Worth was done well. He wasn’t portrayed like the usual one-dimensional baddy but actually had some depth to him. There was a nicely diverse cast of characters and the overall story was quite entertaining. A great read!
Paula Martinac gives us a fascinating and detailed backstage view of the mid-19th century theater world. Just look at the acknowledgments in the back and you will find the amount of research that went on prior to and during the writing of this novel. It was well written and if you like a young adult historical romance set in the theater world I can highly recommend Dear Miss Cushman.
Themes: New York City 1852, daddy’s public fall from grace, a new breadwinner, unwanted sexual advances, the letter, papa’s study, trouser roles, finding love on your own terms.
*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review