This novel, about a small summer theatre in Maine, is absolutely delicious. Elizabeth Jerrold is a 20-year old college graduate trying to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming an actress. Both her parents are dead, and her guardian — the stern, Southern Aunt Harriet — “doesn’t approve of the theatre.” However, because Elizabeth has completed her Bachelor’s degree at Smith College, as promised, Aunt Harriet agrees to fund her niece’s apprenticeship with a professional company on the New England coast. There, Elizabeth works at the box office, ushers evening performances, takes acting classes, rehearses Chekhov monologues, and feels happier than she ever has in her whole life.
Even though I’m not an actress, I would love to have a summer like Elizabeth’s – living in a cottage with a bunch of zany apprentices, staying out all night on the beach, meeting famous performers, and making lifelong friends. Oh yeah, and there’s a page-turning romantic element to the story that makes you want to shout at Elizabeth – “What are you doing with this guy, when this one is so much nicer and clearly head-over-heels in love with you?”
Madeleine L’Engle wrote this novel when she was a young woman in the 1940’s. She died last year before the book was published. I’m so happy her granddaughters decided to bring this novel forward, finally. It’s a terrific treat. If you haven’t yet experienced the dreamy atmosphere and meandering pace of a Madeleine L’Engle romance, what are you waiting for? You have so much to look forward to!