Cromer Pier Theatre Series #2
My thanks to the author and Ben Cameron for my signed copy of this book
It’s ten years on from The Road to Cromer Pier, and Summertime Special Show Director Karen Wells has two potential headliners, but both have issues. Dare she take the risk? And Karen herself is at a crossroads. Will her mother Janet ever retire and allow her to run the pier theatre?
Meanwhile Janet’s nemesis, businessman Lionel Pemrose still has designs on the pier theatre, but he is facing growing financial problems. Bank manager Peter Hodson is haunted by a past indiscretion, and calls in recently widowed turnaround expert Tom Stanley. Can he keep the indiscretion a secret?
Tom is bereaved and has recently been made redundant from his own firm. He is too young to retire, and after years of long hours, suddenly finds himself unemployed. He pours his energies into the assignment, which could be his last hurrah.
Old enmities, loyalties and past mistakes surface as the future of the pier theatre is once again under threat, and those involved must deal with unresolved issues in their lives.
📖 My Thoughts..
We pick up The Road from Cromer Pier some ten years after The Road to Cromer Pier and and even though I hadn't read the first book I've had no difficulty in engaging with the characters or feeling at home in the lovely Norfolk setting.
Preparing for the Summertime Special Show at the theatre at the end of Cromer Pier presents its own set of challenges for theatre director, Karen, not just because her potential headline acts are both a little bit vulnerable but also Karen herself is desperate to move out of her mother's shadow in order to take over the running of the theatre.
Once I was used to the place, and the people, I settled comfortably into the story. The author writes well and describes the atmosphere of life at the end of the pier with flair and imagination. I found myself warming to the characters, well, perhaps to some more than others, Lionel Pemrose, in particular, springs to mind, as a dastardly villain, but overall, the story of jobbing entertainers who do what they do for the love of their chosen profession comes nicely to life. However, as you would expect nothing in Cromer is straightforward and there are several challenges to be faced, with the ever present threat of financial troubles for one character who seems to have his finger in far too many dodgy enterprises and a dangerous domestic problem for another character which adds a sense of tension to the story.
The Road from Cromer Pier is a light, enjoyable read about the vagaries of life at the little theatre at the end of Cromer Pier.
About the Author
When he was nine years old, Martin Gore told his mother he wanted to be a writer. She told him to get a proper job. Now after a successful business career he is semi-retired and living his dream. Nine pantomimes, three plays and his third novel, The Road from Cromer Pier, now published.
So how did his creative side find its niche?
“I had the opportunity to resume writing in 2009 when I wrote my first pantomime for Walkington Pantomime Players. Since then, I’ve written eight pantomimes and three plays.”
He published his first novel, Pen Pals, in 2016. A family saga based in a Yorkshire mill town it is set mainly in the strike torn seventies, building on his experiences during his career in manufacturing.
His second book was based on a play he had written called The Road to Cromer Pier, which draws on childhood holiday experiences.
“It was Cromer every year. The nearest beach to Coventry. Seven hours on a bus with my brothers. No car. Fish and chips, football and cricket on the beach, and big copper pennies clunking into one-armed bandits. Then at night seeing the bright lights of the Pier Theatre from our holiday flat.”
The book was written with the help of Cromer Pier Theatre, who arranged interviews with the management and cast.
“Writing a work of fiction about a real place is a real challenge. The Cromer Pier Show is an iconic piece of British theatre, and is a West End standard show, so my story needed to reflect that too. The theatre couldn’t have been more supportive.”
“I’ve always loved theatre, particularly musical theatre, and have been involved in a lot of Amdram over the years, so writing about the theatre appealed, especially having seen the show as a child.”
“It’s a busy and happy retirement. I still enjoy my work as a Non-Executive Director, but I’m thoroughly enjoying fulfilling my statement to my mother all those years ago. Both of my parents loved the theatre and reading, so I think they’d be proud.