This is a hugely enjoyable winter warmer of a novel that is so funny and humane, once I finished it I was immediately jealous of anyone who hasn’t yet had the pleasure of reading it. – Jack, Daunt Books Marylebone
Set in Victorian London, Shadowplay follows the life-long friendships and romantic entanglements of Bram Stoker, Ellen Terry and Henry Irving. Stoker was not then the household name he is today. Dracula was not an immediate success and its author’s main occupation was as manager of the Lyceum Theatre, home to Terry and Irving – the most famous stage actors of their day.
This is a book, first and foremost, about friendship and the camaraderie of collective artistic endeavour. Joseph O’Connor is brilliant at conveying the feeling and texture of the past and he immerses us in the world of nineteenth century theatre with all its private jokes and anecdotes, its secrets and petty jealousies. Fame and fortunes ebb and flow and the joys of performance and of living the bohemian high life are mixed with private frustrations and heartbreak.