I was drawn to this book by that elegant cover and I thoroughly enjoyed my trip back in time to 1920s London. The Charleston Scandal follows the fortunes of young Australian actress and dancer, Kit Scott, hoping to find fame on the West End stage. When she is cast opposite Canadian Zeke Gardiner, their friendship brings her into contact with the great and good from high society and the shining lights of the London theatre world.
Kit was someone I liked for her eagerness and determination from when she first stepped on the stage and danced onto the pages. The author has blended fictional characters with historical figures such as Noel Coward, Fred Astaire and his sister Adele as well as the Prince of Wales, who later became Edward VIII. There are many other names who you will recognise from stage and screen. I hadn’t known the Astaires were in London in the Roaring Twenties and was fascinated reading about them at a time when Fred was most definitely in Adele’s shadow.
I loved reading about Kit and Zeke and all the actors in the play and their lives in the theatre. The parties they were invited to through their association with Noel Coward and the Astaires sounded like they would be such fun and so glamorous. The scandal referred to in the title was when Kit was photographed dancing with the Prince of Wales. Although it seems to me that he probably gave the palace much more to worry about that dancing with an actress, damage control was necessary and a relationship with aristocrat Lord Henry Carleton was just the thing to divert attention. It was so intriguing to read about this love triangle. Kit was determined not be involved with her co-star Zeke despite the obvious attraction between them. Lord Henry brought her into contact with her own English aristocratic relatives and perhaps he would be the perfect match for her. The hedonistic lifestyle of Henry and his friends contrasted so sharply with Kit’s life but it was a lifestyle she was used to having been brought up in that way and having actually been a debutante.
I so enjoyed the mix of historical fact and fiction, theatre royalty and actual royalty and the will-they-won’t-they romances. This is stylish historical fiction which will transport you to 1920s London. With the shows, the clothes, the dancing, the partying, the music, the glitz and the glamour, it was such an enjoyable book to read.
My thanks to the publisher Piatkus Books for my review copy of the book. The Charleston Scandal is available now in ebook, paperback and audiobook formats. Please support a bookshop when buying if you can. Alternatively, you will find buying links on the Little, Brown website here: The Charleston Scandal
From the back of the book
If you devoured THE CROWN, you will love this exuberant story of a young Australian actress caught up in the excesses, royal intrigues and class divide of Jazz Age London, losing her way but reclaiming her heart in the process.
London, 1920s: Kit Scott, a privileged young Australian aiming to become a star, arrives in the city to find the Jazz Age in full swing. Cast in a West End play opposite another young hopeful, Canadian Zeke Gardiner, she dances blithely into the heady lifestyle of English high society and the London theatre set, from Noel Coward to Fred Astaire and his sister, Adele.
When Kit is photographed dancing the Charleston alongside the Prince of Wales, she finds herself at the centre of a major scandal, sending the Palace into damage control and Kit to her aristocratic English relatives – and into the arms of the hedonistic Lord Henry Carleton. Amid the excesses of the Roaring Twenties, both Zeke and Kit are faced with temptations – and make choices that will alter the course of their lives forever.
Readers of Natasha Lester’s A KISS FROM MR FITZGERALD will love THE CHARLESTON SCANDAL. Bestselling author Pamela Hart’s energetic, masterful storytelling will have you glued right until the end.
About the author
Pamela Hart is an award-winning author for adults and children. She has a Doctorate of Creative Arts from the University of Technology, Sydney. Under the name Pamela Freeman she wrote the historical novel The Black Dress, which won the NSW Premier’s History Prize for 2006. Pamela is also well known for her fantasy novels for adults, published by Orbit worldwide, the Castings Trilogy, and her Aurealis Award-winning novel Ember and Ash. Pamela lives in Sydney with her husband and their son, and teaches at the Australian Writers’ Centre. The Charleston Scandal follows her bestselling novels The Desert Nurse, The Soldier’s Wife, The War Bride and A Letter From Italy.