Today seems to be day of Tracy Corbett titles, this being the first of two on the blocks today. Set in Brighton and featuring a series of second chances with family, careers, friends and love in
Starlight on the Palace Pier
Twelve years earlier, Becca had left Brighton to take her chances on the stage as a professional dancer in London. With several ‘in between’ jobs, hours of classes and rehearsal time and fewer offers, tripping over a goat at one of the many ‘in between’ jobs just may have ended her career. Returning home to Ruby’s Guest House, she finds things are a bit ‘cluttered’ and her mother seems tired, and the two long term residents, an elderly man and woman, are ever-present. When you add in her cousin Jodi’s frustration with not being able to find a job that will make use of her degree because of her ‘colorful’ past, and Becca’s homecoming where she planned to lick her wounds and discover her ‘next step’ is more complicated than she expected.
But Jodi has an interview scheduled, and there is a part-time position for a dance teacher. The only hiccup? The woman who will be their boss also happens to be the mother of Tom, the boy who disappeared from Becca’s life without a word twelve years ago, leaving her bereft and confused just before her father’s untimely death. The Starlight Playhouse also contained Tom’s childhood home, a bequest to his mother from her family, the ground floor had been host to several ‘art and community’ endeavors, from dance classes, youth center, discos and plays. But now, Caroline is struggling to keep the place going, a community grant is in danger of being recalled and the Playhouse would then go under. Hiring Jodi, and then Becca will turn out to be some of her best options ever. If only Petrit and Vivienne – chef and ‘manager’ and long-term employees of Caroline weren’t obstructive, downright nasty and full-blown enablers to Caroline’s alcoholism – an issue that ONLY Jodi has the nerve (or the understanding) to confront. Caroline saw, through her own pain that Becca and Jodi were the women for the job, appointing them managers against the wishes of the aforementioned Petrit and Vivienne, against her son’s wishes, and with plenty of shock for Jodi and Becca.
Oh this was so clever and engaging – from the radical (and unique) ideas that Jodi and Becca have to remind and engage townspeople of the Starlight Playhouse, to the personal growth for them both, as well as Becca’s mother finding a new start, the challenges (and occasional / constant) conflict with staff of longer duration but less input are deliberately obstreperous, Jodi’s need to do a good job in the hopes that the experience will help her to find a career after her conviction, and Tom’s blustering his way in to “take over” using his familiarity with two teenaged girls twelve years ago to determine their unsuitability now. It doesn’t help that he and Becca have a connection and a boatload of history, and things are further complicated by his clinging ex and judgmental father, but the Tom who covered for, protected and ‘cleared up’ after his drunk mother has several issues of his own to sort out, and he’s more focused on saying no than really seeing the potential. Fortunately Becca won’t take no, and Jodi, so full of ideas and determination has good ones – and plans for a ‘showcase’ event during the big arts festival in town becomes their goal. Corbett mixed characters, youthful memories, histories and hopes as well as new attractions, conflicts and some truly adorable moments as both Jodi and Becca struggle with their new ‘positions’ as we worked our way to the end. Clear characterizations, common issues and a steely core of determination prove impossible to upend and the story brings happiness and new hope to the Starlight Playhouse.
Title: Starlight on the Palace Pier
Author: Tracy Corbett
Genre: British, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Friendship, Humor elements, Second Chance, Setting: Britain, Woman's Fiction
Published by: Avon Books UK
Published on: 4 October, 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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After an injury derails her dream of becoming a professional dancer, Becca Roberts heads home to Brighton in search of a fresh start.
And, when a part-time dance teacher role becomes available at The Starlight Playhouse, it seems like her stars are finally aligning. The crumbling old playhouse might need a bit of tender loving care (and a lick of paint!), but Becca is more than up to the challenge.
That is until Becca’s first love (and first heartbreak), Tom, waltzes into the Starlight Playhouse, and she realises life by the sea might not be as simple as she thought…
Fall in love on Palace Pier in this feel-good romantic comedy, perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Jill Mansell.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.