I absolutely love historical fiction and read a lot of it; I love to learn history this way. I also enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller and non-fiction science.
Grace bolts from her London home late one night after her father comes home drunk and hits her. Still blaming Grace for her mother's death, Grace has become the unwilling scapegoat. However, the streets of 1800's London are not a friendly place for a lady at night. Grace is found by Ned, a stage manager at the nearby Theatre Royale. Ned graciously helps Grace recover over the next few days. During their stay together, Grace tells Ned of her interest in the theatre and how she and her mother would recite lines. Ned allows Grace to sit backstage and watch a performance before she must leave and face her father once more. Before Grace goes, an opportunity arises for Grace to be in the Chorus of a show. Grace falls in love with the theatre and finds the strength to part from her father's household. Upon hearing the news, Grace's father writes her out of his will. Soon, with help from Ned, Grace finds her place among the acting troupe. Although, just as Grace begins to rise, the theatre burns down and when it is rebuilt and hike in prices results in a riot at theatre every night. As Grace and Ned deal with the Old Price riots, they also uncover a mystery dealing with Grace's mother and Aunt.
The Muse of Fire transported me directly to London's Theatre scene in the early 1800's. I was taken with the historical detail, I had never heard of the Old Price Riots and were surprised to learn that they were very real and just as comprehensive as described. I also enjoyed that some of the actors, actresses and directors were also taken from history. The thoroughness in describing how backstage operations at the theatre worked was entertaining as well, from costuming to props, fly rigs and makeup, to orchestras and prompters the liveliness and excitement of live theatre is revealed. Grace and Ned's characters were complete and well thought out. Both had interesting histories and good backbone. From the beginning I wondered what their relationship to one another would be and I was pleased to see how they ended up. I loved Grace's direct nature and willingness to endure. Ned is exceedingly kind and able to use his wit to his advantage. The mystery and drama created by Grace's Aunt, Father and cousin Percival was exciting and unexpected, creating just as much drama as the stage. Overall, another rich and exhilarating historical fiction from Carol M. Cram.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.