The Floating Theatre
‘Completely charming’ Imogen Hermes Gowar, author of The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock
In a nation divided by prejudice, everyone must take a side.
When young seamstress May Bedloe is left alone and penniless on the shore of the Ohio, she finds work on the famous floating theatre that plies its trade along the river. Her creativity and needlework skills quickly become invaluable and she settles in to life among the colourful troupe of actors. She finds friends, and possibly the promise of more …
But cruising the border between the Confederate South and the ‘free’ North is fraught with danger.
For the sake of a debt that must be repaid, May is compelled to transport secret passengers, under cover of darkness, across the river and on, along the underground railroad.
But as May’s secrets become harder to keep, she learns she must endanger those now dear to her.
And to save the lives of others, she must risk her own …
A gloriously involving and powerful read for fans of Gone With The Wind and Tracy Chevalier’s The Last Runaway
An engaging story with lovely detail and moments of comedy * The Daily Mail * The Floating Theatre is both a dear love story and a page-turning adventure about the Underground Railroad-and an unwilling participant. An extraordinary cast of memorable characters gives this book irresistible appeal while the setting on the watery boundary between North and South places them in dangerous and morally ambiguous territory. A captivating, thoughtful and unforgettable read. -- Kathleen Grissom, author of The Kitchen House and Glory over Everything Martha Conway, award-winning US author of 12 Bliss Street and Thieving Forest, explores the complex moral dilemmas of slavery, compromise and betrayal in a powerful and gripping novel of ideas, emotions and dramas. The Floating Theatre is an ingenious production, a gripping, atmospheric adventure story, packed with secrets and treachery, but with flashes of leavening light humour and with a strident anti-slavery message at its moral heart...a fascinating, gritty and enlightening glimpse of the realities of life on the showboats in the early to mid-19th century, the terrible plight of slaves in the southern states and the risks taken by all those determined to fight for the cause of freedom. * Lancashire Evening Post * Set in 1837 and shy seamstress May Bedloe takes on a job on the wondrous Floating Theatre, a flat boat that sails the Ohio river performing plays to townsfolk. But the reappearance of a couple from May's past threatens everything she has worked for * The Bookseller * It is part of Martha Conway's gift as a writer to weave stories from the richest and most interesting periods of American history. Set on a nineteenth century floating theatre on the Ohio River, The Floating Theatre is a riveting and atmospheric novel about slavery, betrayal and redemption, with a memorably forthright heroine, and a plot as fast flowing and twisty as the river itself. -- Louisa Treger, author of The Lodger Engaging, involving and powerful, The Floating Theatre transported me to a world that, thankfully, has passed - one filled with danger, fear and barbarity, but also excitement, passion and romance. With May by your side, take a ride on the Floating Theatre and explore the rivers of America - you'll be glad you climbed on board. * The Bookbag * The Floating Theatre was just as amazing as its beautiful cover promised. * The Misstery * Engaging, involving and powerful, The Floating Theatre transported me to a world that, thankfully, has passed - one filled with danger, fear and barbarity, but also excitement, passion and romance. With May by your side, take a ride on the Floating Theatre and explore the rivers of America - you'll be glad you climbed on board. * The Bookbag * This is a very unique premise and setting for a story. This is a fascinating if dark time of history and the fact that the river was so symbolic in the fight and the story did make me want to go and read more. And that cover - seemingly hand stitched - was gorgeous. * The Book Trail * The Floating Theatre was a pleasure to lose myself in. Martha Conway writes very likeable, colourful characters who get themselves into rather nasty fixes. Politics aside, it's a very compelling story that I found hard to put down. * Seeing the Lighter Side * I really did get swept away by this story. Life on the boat is so vivid I could picture all of the characters and even those who barely speak are well-drawn....This was a novel which lived up to my high expectations. * Tales from the Olympia * You will find that there is plenty of tension and pace, and plenty of heart-stopping moments. Reading this book was easy; the pages slid effortlessly past my eyes. I found myself making extra time to read it so I could find out what happened next. I loved it. * Words Worm * The book is rich in detail, the descriptions are wonderful and you feel like you're floating along the Ohio river along with this colourful cast of characters. I loved May, she was such a refreshing, interesting character... I was swept away with this book, I came to feel for the characters and had true moments of sadness and joy whilst reading 'The Floating Theatre'. The writing is wonderful and the setting is fantastic...I highly recommend this book, it makes for great Summer reading (well, all year round reading really). Beautiful, emotive and satisfying. * Emma's Bookish Corner * 'This is an enchanting and enjoyable book... While the plot is excellent and moves at a good pace; creating tension and stress for the reader, it's really the characters that endeared me to The Floating Theatre...' * Epic Stitching * 'May is a delightfully no-nonsense narrator...This is terrific historical fiction I can heartily recommend...' * Bookish Beck * A beautifully written, highly engaging novel. It's not often that a book lives up to it's beautiful cover, but this one certainly did! It's exciting and page-turning with characters you really care about * Bookmark Spalding * Compelling... a thoughtful and satisfying read. * New Zealand Herald *
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