Publication Date: 09/06/2022 ISBN: 9780241542835 Category:

The Whalebone Theatre

Joanna Quinn

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication Date: 09/06/2022 ISBN: 9780241542835 Category:




Books make beautiful Christmas gifts, and they’ll be swept away by this warm hug of a book!

‘Pure heaven, from first word to last’ Sunday Times

‘A tour de force’ Sarah Winman, author of Still Life

This is the story of an old English manor house by the sea, with crumbling chimneys, draping ivy and a library full of dusty hardbacks. It’s the story of the three children who grow up there, and the adventures they create for themselves while the grown-ups entertain endless party guests.

This is the story of a whale that washes up on a beach, whose bones are claimed by a twelve-year-old girl with big ambitions and an even bigger imagination. An unwanted orphan who grows into an unmarriageable young woman, fiercely determined to do things differently.

But as the children grow to adulthood, another story has been unfolding in the wings. And when the war finally takes centre stage, they find themselves cast, unrehearsed, into roles they never expected to play.

They raised themselves on stories. Now it’s time for them to write their own…

‘One of those big chunky stories that swallows you whole’ The Times

‘Beautifully compulsive … The Whalebone Theatre will feel like a much-loved book even if you’re reading it for the first time’ Red Magazine

Publisher Review

'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' * 'Utterly captivating. An epic romp with characters you cannot help but fall in love with and a plot that takes you in all sorts of unexpected directions. Written with great heart, humour and humanity, it's the kind of book you want to escape normal life to read at every available opportunity.' * Elizabeth Day, author of Magpie * 'The Whalebone Theatre has all the makings of a classic. And Cristabel Seagrave is the most gratifying hero. The war scenes often left me breathless: they are as good as you will ever read. A wonderful debut. Actually, a tour de force' * Sarah Winman, Author of Still Life * Quinn's story passes like a fabulous pageant, richly coloured and packed with incident, taking us from the lonely and unorthodox Dorset childhood of the extraordinary Christabel to the poignant aftermath of her heroic Second World War. Quinn has a sublime touch: Cristabel and her troupe are unforgettable, as riotous in comedy as they are heart-breaking in tragedy' * Frances Liardet, author of We Must Be Brave * Magnificent. As capacious, surprising and magical as the whale that lends its bones to Cristabel's theatre: a tale of intertwined lives and braided fates as deftly managed and heartbreaking as a Dickens' novel. * Rebecca Stott, Costa-winning author of The Days of Rain * 'Breathes fresh, bracing air into the lungs of the multi-generational saga - and the very form of the novel itself. Few people writing today can match Quinn for the energy and precision of her prose...' * Susan Elderkin, author of The Story Cure: An A-Z of Books to Keep Kids Happy, Healthy and Wise * I defy any reader not to fall in love... it transported me wholesale to another time and place and while I wandered its pages, I forgot the world for a while * Wyl Menmuir, author of Fox Fires * 'Utterly heart-breaking and joyous ... I just disappeared into THE WHALEBONE THEATRE and didn't want to leave' * Jo Baker, author of Longbourn * 'So immersive and joyous and glorious. I was completely entranced' * Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of Write It All Down *

Find this book on the following lists

Book experts at your service

What are you looking for?

A recommendation
Something specific
  • Mr B's Recommendation Station
  • Fill in the three questions below, along with your name and email address, and our book experts will be in touch soon with their personal recommendations

  • I'm after something specific
  • Tell us about the book, author or subject you're looking for, along with your name and email address and our book experts will be in touch as soon as possible