The Whalebone Theatre

The Whalebone Theatre

The instant Sunday Times bestseller

Summary

Brought to you Penguin.

'Maudie, why are all the best characters men?'
Maudie closes the book with a clllump. 'We haven't read all the books yet, Miss Cristabel. I can't believe that every story is the same'

Cristabel Seagrave has always wanted her life to be a story, but there are no girls in the books in her dusty family library. For an unwanted orphan who grows into an unmarriageable young woman, there is no place at all for her in a traditional English manor.

But from the day that a whale washes up on the beach at the Chilcombe estate in Dorset, and twelve-year-old Cristabel plants her flag and claims it as her own, she is determined to do things differently.

With her step-parents blithely distracted by their endless party guests, Cristabel and her siblings, Flossie and Digby, scratch together an education from the plays they read in their freezing attic, drunken conversations eavesdropped through oak-panelled doors, and the esoteric lessons of Maudie their maid.

But as the children grow to adulthood and war approaches, jolting their lives on to very different tracks, it becomes clear that the roles they are expected to play are no longer those they want. As they find themselves drawn into the conflict, they must each find a way to write their own story...

© Joanna Quinn 2022 (P) Penguin Audio 2022

Reviews

  • 'The circus playfulness of the language, the old story of the great house dazzlingly refreshed, the kind heart and the witty eye, the deep understanding of a girl's need to be the hero of her own life - this is a book that will be loved unreasonably and life-long, I believe, like I Capture The Castle.'
    Francis Spufford, author of 'Light Perpetual'

About the author

Joanna Quinn

Joanna Quinn was born in London and grew up in Dorset, in the southwest of England, where her debut novel, The Whalebone Theatre, is set.


Joanna has worked in journalism and the charity sector. She is also a short-story writer, published by The White Review and Comma Press, among others. She teaches creative writing and lives in a village near the sea in Dorset.
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