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Reviews

  • The Wardrobe Mistress isn’t just an entertaining ghost story, assembled by a master-manipulator to be full of narrative trapdoors, tantalising at one moment and agreeably grotesque the next: it’s also an exploration of the deep mythology of theatre . . . McGrath himself seems ambivalent about the sentimentality he depicts. But there’s no political ambivalence here: by the end of the novel, the icy postwar alleys, the shattered theatres and public houses are under the malign enchantment of a quietly resurgent politics. The plentiful mirrorings, the doppelgangers and dybbuks both real and false, make that plain, and make plain that fascism is also a kind of theatre – always already a re-enactment of itself.

    Guardian
  • A brilliant evocation of the theatrical world’s seedy glamour, The Wardrobe Mistress is also a moving portrait of a woman struggling to make sense of her past and imagine a future for herself.

    Sunday Times
  • McGrath is so adept at creating a sense of foreboding that one is never sure whether there will be a rational, a psychiatric or a supernatural explanation . . . wonderfully sinister . . . a delight . . . you are in for a thrilling ride.

    Spectator
  • A chilling novel of grief, passion and unfulfilled longing, where secrets lurk in every dark alley . . . McGrath takes us backstage in the London theatre — and you can just about smell the greasepaint. But he also opens out his story to embrace the zeitgeist of the time, the misery and deprivation of post-war Britain, the persistent running sore of fascism and the feeling that life after victory isn’t what it was supposed to be.

    Daily Mail
  • A rich and highly spiced feast of a novel, even before it reaches its classically gothic McGrath climax

    Reader’s Digest
  • [A] theatrical tale of malice, artifice and stunted affection.

    Mail on Sunday
  • Splendid…spooky, elegant, self-aware and intellectually deft

    Telegraph
  • [An] unnerving thriller.

    Stylist
  • Absolutely superb.

    Saga Magazine
  • McGrath delivers another accomplished novel.

    Woman & Home

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