Review: “Adele” by Nicola Cassidy

Only a couple of months have passed, and Nicola Cassidy does it again – she has transferred me from in between the pages of her newest novel straight into the world of Adele Astaire. Dancer, icon, star in the roaring ’20s.

“Adele” is a historical fiction heavily based on the true happenings and it takes us on a journey of Adele’s life from when she was a little girl up to her 40’s. Together with her brother Fred, they had trained at professional dance academies in the early years, cultivating their natural talents, to later perform in the sold-out shows on Broadway. As a famous brother-sister duo, they have taken theatres by storm; Adele is known for witticism and her ability to charm the audience, while Fred remained the more stoic and professional of the two.

It is a novel that captures your heart for multiple reasons. Told mostly from Adele’s point of view, Nicola paints an emotional picture of Adele’s life as a child, as a young woman, a star and later on, a wife and a mother. Her story grasps from the very first pages and stays with you after you finish reading it.

The beginning of the novel was a tad slow and I didn’t particularly enjoy Adele as a child narrative. She knew too much, it felt overwritten. The words used and the thought pattern that was followed felt too advanced for an 8-year-old. However, as Adele grew older, it all started to fall back into place, it started to make sense.

Patricia Ryan, an Irish housemaid in 1928, and Ellie Morgan, a Californian journalist in 1973, are two characters used to beautifully link the whole story together. I did not see their entire significance until the very end of the novel and the way it was done in was satisfactory, with a bit of wit to it. Quite clever indeed.

Nicola has a remarkable ability to transport her reader into the exact time and place of her choosing. She does so by the eloquent speech and vivid imagery she uses in her writing. When I read her previous novel, I was in awe at the amount of knowledge that was put into the storyline and I felt the same reading ‘Adele’. It is clear how much research time the author has dedicated and I can greatly appreciate that – it makes a difference. Everything, from the dialogue, through clothing description, to scenery, reads authentic, it all belongs in the historical period that’s mentioned.

I went through a rollercoaster of emotions reading this novel. It was as if I have experienced all the ups and downs of Adele together with her. It was a remarkable journey of a remarkable woman, whose story won’t be so easily forgotten now thanks to Nicola.

I’d like to thank Poolbeg Books for sending me a copy of Adele for review and Nicola Cassidy for ever so kindly inviting me to participate in her novel’s blog tour once again. It is always a pleasure working with you and reading your work.

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