#aww2021 · 2021 Reviews · historical fiction · new release

New Release Book Review: The Charleston Scandal by Pamela Hart

Title: The Charleston Scandal

Author: Pamela Hart

Published: November 24th 2020

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Pages: 400

Genres: Fiction, Historical

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 4 stars

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.

Review:

A dazzling and energetic novel that dances to its own rhythm, The Charleston Scandal is the latest offering from historical fiction author Pamela Hart. A story of class, ambition, opportunity, breaking the rules and love, The Charleston Scandal is a decadent novel that I was happy to indulge in over a working week.

The Charleston Scandal follows an Australian actress who is set for success when she arrives in London. Kit Scott is Pamela Hart’s leading lady and this enigmatic woman has big plans. Kit hopes to tread the boards on the west end and her ambitions are fulfilled when she is cast alongside another rising star, a Canadian named Zeke Gardiner. This lucrative new role sees Kit rub shoulders with celebrities of the time and royalty. Things heat up for Kit when she is photographed with the Prince of Wales. With whispers of an illicit affair, the Palace tries to cover up this scandal as best they can.  It leads Kit into the pathway of her relatives and a Lord, who will have a significant impact on Kit’s life. In a time of indulgence, excesses, temptations and decadence, The Charleston Scandal highlights the jubilance of these colourful times.

Pamela Hart is one author I always make a beeline for. Hart’s uncanny ability to transport the reader to times past in the form of a highly engaging narrative, complete with a trailblazer female character makes her stories a sheer joy to read. The Charleston Scandal has a beautiful cover that I was immediately drawn to and my obsession for the era depicted piqued my interest in this novel further. The 1920s is a decade I look to with fascination and I am always keen to read more about this intriguing time.

Kit Scott was a well-cast lead and I genuinely enjoyed following her journey. Kit comes from privileged stock and Hart’s writing allows the reader to gain an insight into life of the upper class, including the aristocracy. We also have a number of key real-life figures filtered through The Charleston Scandal, such as Noel Coward and Fred Astaire. This was a great touch and I found it pulled me further into the story at hand. Kit is matched by Zeke, a Canadian fellow aspiring performer. Zeke’s hails from a very different background to Kit, which allows Hart to explore lower class issues and a troubled past within the context of her lead character. I appreciated this contrast. The relationship between Kit and Zeke was tension filled and I did hope that these two would eventually stop dancing around one another to make things happen. The final spark that unites this couple is worth the wait.

Hart illuminates her time period well, which shows she is a writer who is not restricted to war time-based tales. The Charleston Scandal takes the reader on a flight of adventure, desire, choices, societal expectations, morals and extravagance of the 1920s jazz age. Linking in themes of societal movements, impressions, changing times, equal rights, cultural shifts, career choices, freedom and hard-hitting issues such as alcoholism and abuse, The Charleston Scandal is an involving historical composition.

A quaint and very charming novel that manages to capture the unique movements of the decadent jazz era, The Charleston Scandal is novel you will want to hold until you have read the final word.

The Charleston Scandal by Pamela Hart is published by Hachette Australia on November 24th 2020. $32.99.

https://www.hachette.com.au/pamela-hart/the-charleston-scandal


To learn more about the author of The Charleston Scandal, Pamela Hart, visit here.

*Thanks is extended to Hachette Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.

The Charleston Scandal is book #16 of the 2021 Australian Women Writers Challenge

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