Release date: 13 October 2022
Back cover blurb: Welcome to the Empire Theatre. 1922. When Jack Treadwell first arrives at The Empire, a rehearsal is in full swing, and he is instantly mesmerised by the glitz and glamour of it all. But Jack quickly learns that the true magic of The Empire is the cast of characters - both on stage and backstage - that work tirelessly to ensure the show will go on, no matter what. Jack joins them, throwing himself into theatre life, finding an eccentric new family and maybe even a leading lady of his own . . . However, Jack soon discovers it is not just those on stage who are acting. With whispers of a scandalous cover-up and rivalries that threaten the future of The Empire, tensions rise, along with the curtain. For there is treachery at the heart of the theatre and a shocking secret waiting in the wings. Can Jack discover the truth before it is too late, and the theatre that means so much to them all goes dark? Set in the roaring 1920s, Musical Theatre legend Michael Ball brings his trademark warmth, wit, glamour, and incredible ability to transport an audience to this, his debut novel.
Welcome to the Empire Theatre 1922.
Jack Treadwell arrives in the middle of rehearsals, not knowing what to expect, but unprepared for the intoxicating world of glitz and glamour - so different to that of the trenches he fought in during the Great War.
Here he meets Grace, who he feels an immediate attraction to. But there's no time for that! Grace is extremely busy, working alongside a select 'cast' trying to keep open the theatre that they love. The Empire is under threat from a rival theatre owner and they are determined that he will not get his hands on it.
The show must go on!
And it does... Jack works with Grace to pull out all the stops when they are unable to book acts that are now 'exclusive' to their rival. He pours his heart and soul into the theatre world, and they are able to put together something quite special, but unfortunately it isn't enough.
To save the theatre long term they must come up with something spectacular.
But can they do it before the theatre is forced to go dark?
The Empire has all the qualities of a great piece of theatre, an interesting plot, characters that the audience (reader) can really relate to, romance, comedy and a suitably dramatic ending.
The Empire is fantastic read, and one of my favourites of this year!
I look forward to the Encore ...
The Empire* is available to pre-order now via Amazon online and all good book shops.
Thank You to the publishers who approved my request in exchange for an honest review.
*Disclaimer - I am a huge theatre fan (particularly musical theatre) and I absolutely adore Michael Ball, so I was a little nervous (but terribly excited) to receive and review an advanced copy of this novel. I needn't have been, and should have known that it would be an absolute star (just like the man himself)!