A determined young Lancashire girl arrives in London intent on a stage career – this tale from the author of I Capture the Castle is told with the candour and authenticity that derives from Dodie Smith’s own experience of the theatre world.
Mouse never did fully suit her nickname. Tiny she may have been, but timid never. After less than twenty-four hours in London she had bluffed her way into an audition at a famous theatre, infuriated its forceful young stage director, and amused its kind if quite amoral actor-manager. She had finally landed not a part but a toehold as a junior secretary. During her involvement in the engrossing affairs of the Crossway Theatre she met her friends Molly, a baby-faced six-footer; and elegant, ambitious Lilian, who was fated to clash disastrously with Mouse. Later, there was also Zelle, rich, generous, enigmatic, and responsible for an outing to Suffolk village pageant which proved a turning point for them all.
Life was always surprising the fearless Mouse: when she unexpectedly got to a chance to act she made an unforgettable impression, though not the one she had intended. However, nothing prepared her for the assault of first love, highly unsuitable, but welcomed by her in a way which was to have far-reaching consequences.
Only when she looks back after a reunion luncheon does she realise the full effects of that shared summer on her friends and herself. A startlingly frank yet nostalgic read, this is a charming novel about coming of age and the healing effects of time.