Alexandra Murphy 1 February 2012 - 2:42pm
‘We usually select a dumb act for the first act on the bill – makes a good impression and will not be spoiled by late arrivals. A song-and-dance turn, a sister act or any other little act that does not depend on its words being heard.’
So proclaims Will Rogers at the start of The Little Shadows, Marina Endicott’s latest novel. And whilst the girls – the beautiful Aurora, calm and thoughtful Clover and feisty Bella – are indeed a sister act, that is where the similarity with Rogers’ demands end. Strong, stunning and full of good spirits, the Avery sisters' voices will most certainly be heard.
The Little Shadows is Endicott’s third novel and it follows the nomadic Avery sisters after the death of their father, as they step onto the stage and set out to make their living independently as singing act, ‘The Belle Auroras’. Set in the revolving and exhilarating world of Vaudeville directly after the First World War, these exciting heroines are our guides as we follow them past velvet curtains, eccentric impresarios and tragic melodrama.
The sisters Endicott creates are believable and beautiful, starting out with little but their raw talent and good-natured hope. The novel’s charting of their progression through the world of enticing and seductive Vaudeville is wholly captivating, and so heart-warming it might make you want to take to the boards yourself.
This is a novel full of glamour, charm and sultry showbusiness, a must-read for anybody with a penchant for the bright lights and the smell of grease paint.