Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Road to Cromer Pier, by Martin Gore

Martin Gore Publishing, June 2019

This is the story of a struggling theater on the Norfolk coast of England.

The Wells family has owned the theater for generations, and Janet Wells is the current owner. They run a variety show, the Cromer Pier Summertime Special, every year, and it's always a success for them.

Now, though, they're in the second year of the Great Recession, and everyone is struggling. They can't afford the same level of performers they would normally be recruiting. Everyone on the permanent staff is taking a 5% salary cut, and the new hires for the show include a Polish magician whose performance and command of English are both spotty, and a talent show winner who has a great singing voice but has reached the end of her run of what she can do with that alone in he current market. But she's never danced, and for Cromer Pier she needs to learn.

Oh, and a local real estate vulture is determined to get ownership of the theater, have already acquired the rest of the pier. Also, we keep getting Just One More Character introduced.

I don't, as a general rule, object to lots of characters as such. Or to an ensemble cast.

But Gore kept snatching me away from one character to another, too quickly, and often it was to one less likable. Even the fairly likable ones, he made it hard for me to settle in and care about.

I was left feeling I was being bounced hither and yon, in pursuit of something other than a really good characters whose fate I cared about.

Altogether frustrating.

I just don't know. I may reread this book again in a few months. Right now, at this moment, I just can't give it another chance to engage me, and I had such hopes for it.

Sadly, not recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher, and am reviewing it volunrarily.

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