Title: The Little Theatre by the Sea
Author: Rosanna Ley
Published: March 14th 2017
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Faye has just completed her degree in interior design when she finds herself jobless and boyfriend-less. While debating what to do next she receives a surprise phone call from her old college friend Charlotte who now lives in Sardinia and is married to Italian hotelier, Fabio.
When Charlotte suggests that Faye relocate for a month to house-sit, Faye wonders if a summer break in sunny Sardinia might be the perfect way to recharge her batteries and think about her future. But then Charlotte tells Faye that there’s something more behind the sudden invitation: her friends Marisa and Alessandro are looking for a designer to renovate a crumbling old theatre they own in the scenic village of Deriu. The idea certainly sounds appealing to Faye, but little does she know what she’s letting herself in for if she accepts this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity . . .
Mrs R’s review:
The Little Theatre by the Sea is the sixth novel by English author Rosanna Ley. The first I have read by Rosanna, I was drawn to the bright, summery cover and the cute title. The perfect beach read, it is set in Dorset, England and the fictional town of Deiru (inspired by the town of Bosa), Sardinia. Rosanna beautifully describes Sardinia and I doubt there will be a reader who is not ready to holiday there after reading her book! Told in the third person, the reader follows the footsteps of protagonist, Faye, as her life falls apart, leading her to the opportunity for the adventure of a lifetime.
In her early 30s, Faye has undergone a major career change in her hometown of Dorset from personal assistant to interior design. Fresh out of college, Faye also finds herself without a boyfriend and without a job. With her positive attitude, fate is on Faye’s side when she receives a phone call from close friend, Charlotte. British born Charlotte is living in Deiru with her Sardinian partner and initially needs Faye to house sit. Digging a little deeper, the truth comes out when Faye is asked to inspect Charlotte’s friends, the Rinaldi’s, theatre while in Deiru. An old theatre, it is desperately in need of the touch of an interior designer. With barely a second thought, Faye is on a plane trip that will show her how strong she is in difficult times.
Through a variety of Sardinian characters, Rosanna describes the people and their unique culture with aplomb. The owners of the theatre are 30 something Marissa and Alessandro Rinaldi, who want to bring tourists into the village. Dreams of revitalizing the theatre and expanding its use portray the optimism held by the young along with their understanding of the need for change. Even so, Alessandro is more reluctant for change as he has many happy memories with the theatre whereas Marissa has some terrible experiences, making her more willing to take Faye’s ideas onboard. The siblings come across opposition from many of the elderly, eccentric locals such as Pasquele and Enrico. Both men have long held ties to the theatre, Pasquel’s with his past life as an actor and the Rinaldi’s mother. It becomes much deeper as Pasquel’s story unravels and disturbingly darker with a mystery to solve.
Rosanna also shows small village mentality by placing Faye in Deiru. Faye experiences being an outsider for the first time in her life and as such, is deeply distrusted by the locals. People will barely look at Faye, let alone speak to her, so it is with much patience that she begins to make inroads. Faye is the consummate girl next door; pretty, friendly and happy. She is also a born peace maker as she referees arguments between the locals. I enjoyed watching Faye attempt to befriend everybody, though not always successfully, as in real life.
With themes of old versus the new and starting over, Rosanna further explores secrets and following dreams through married life. Using alternating chapters, Faye’s father intermittently tells his story of married life to Molly. For much of their marriage, Faye’s parents have kept life changing secrets from each other. This eventually leads to the couple separating, Ade to travel and Molly to continue the suburban life. Both discover that life isn’t necessarily greener on the other side but is it too little too late?
The Little Theatre By the Sea is the perfect summer escape for chic lit fans!
The Little Theatre by the Sea by Rosanna Ley was published on March 14th 2017. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of The Little Theatre by the Sea, Rosanna Ley, visit here.