02/04/2007

Stage by Stage (by Jan Jones)

Stage by Stage is a light romantic fiction novel by Jan Jones, published by Transita who specialise in novels about women in their forties.

Beth, in her mid-forties with two teenagers, is shocked when her husband Alan walks out on her after a row. Not, as he has before, to play a game of golf and then return to a night in the guest room. This time, he packs his things and does not return. Beth's daughter Natalie is nearly 16; she and her brother Robin are heavily involved in the theatre, working as extras in repertory when the 'Footlights' company is nearby.

Beth starts taking in lodgers, and three of her earliest guests are from the Footlights company. Owen is in his late thirties, a brilliant actor who - like so many in his profession - drinks, swears too much, and is afraid of commitment. Seb is in his early 20s, a polite, very good-looking, up-and-coming star. Cate is the Assistant Stage Manager, and constantly
stressed...

I didn't think I would particularly enjoy this book. It is rather unashamedly 'chick-lit', and I'm not generally very keen on that style of book. The plot moves rapidly with multiple viewpoints
and casual relationships (though, thankfully, no lengthy details of bedroom antics). But there's humour, wisdom, kindness, and loyalty. And the settings seem very believable, without the tedium of lengthy 'researched' explanations.

I'm still not entirely sure why I liked it so much, but these people rather got under my skin; I particularly found myself empathising with Beth. I was quite disappointed when I got to the end, and already look forward to re-reading it in a few years.

My longer review is here at the Bookbag site.

1 comment:

Jan Jones said...

"These people rather got under my skin"

Thank you, Sue. That must be the very best accolade a writer can have. I am really glad you enjoyed the book.