So how many of you knew that Kathleen Winsor wrote other books besides Forever Amber? I’d read one other, Wanderers Eastward Wanderers West (set in 19C New York and Montana) about a year ago and really enjoyed it, so I decided to try another and Calais is the one I picked and surprisingly decided to read it at the same time Moppet did. The story is centered around Lily Malone. Her parents die in an automobile accident and that loss drives her to a passion for the stage (not really sure why) – and that means being the center of it and not in a supporting role. Catching the eye (and bed) of one of the college professors she eventually strikes out for New York with a name change to Arlette Morgan. A few acting lessons, a few lucky breaks and then a role co-starring with Anthony De Forest and she’s well on her way to super-stardom, but what about happiness?
After this we’re pretty much treated to Anthony and Arlette’s stormy marriage (no spoilers, it’s on the back jacket) which is oh-so-similar to Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor’s (including playing Anthony and Cleopatra, although our pair didn’t flop) and eventually Arlette finds her life at a crossroads. Will she risk her career (and those who depend on them) by separating the acting team of Morgan and De Forest, or should she give it all up for true love? Eh, by this time I was so tired of Arlette’s revolving bedroom door along with her pretty dresses and furs and *acting* her own life I was pretty lost by this point and skimming a great deal.
I felt the most interesting parts were the backstage details of how a play and/or movie are just pieces of the puzzle until the cast and the director can tie them together into one fluid piece. As much as I liked the backstage scenes, it began to wear thin after a while . Yes, I know Arlette got hurt but did she really need that many lovers to get even? That said, the ending certainly took me by surprise and if you must have a picture perfect HEA you do not want to enter here. If you’re a fan of the stage and theatre this might interest you, but I’d recommend other readers give this a miss. 3/5 stars.
I did have quite a senior moment in the prologue during Arlette’s airplane flight and can’t resist sharing. Raise your hand if you can remember these days,
“The stewardess fixed two trays side by side, and so it seemed they were to be companions in taking airborne communion. She began to eat slowly, and he took a forkful of steak…”
FTC? A genuine Amazon Verified Purchase.