Title: The Steam Whistle Theatre Company
Author: Vivian French
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s fiction, Historical fiction
Book format: Paperback
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Description: All Aboard!  The Steam Whistle Theatre Company’s Coming to town…
Charlie and Rosie Pringle are on a train for the first time ever.  Their family theatre company is headed North, hoping for fame and fortune.  Baby Bubbles and his controlling mother are running away from their past.  And little Eidie Boiler is praying she won’t have to go back to the workhouse.  But will all of their hopes and dreams come true…?
Dont miss the event of the century!

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  I really enjoyed reading this! When the Pringle Players, a family from London who perform their own shows on stage, realise how many debts they have, Pa decides that the only solution is to head North to perform and hopefully make a lot of money. But as they travel north to Uncaster, there are other performers travelling there too, and they are about to run into a lot of problems.

I can’t believe how much I’ve enjoyed reading this book. I’ve always loved historical fiction, and stories set in Victorian times are a special favourite for me, but this book has really captured me. From the beginning we meet the Pringle family and their theatre company. Pa Pringle is a fun character and the whole family, like many of the others in the book, speak in a particular cockney (or poor class) way. The actual speech is written in this way, and is easy to read, which gives a great authentic feel to the story. At the train station, we begin to meet some of the other characters who make up this story. Different chapters show the story from different characters and their point of view, although always in the third person. I like this style, it make the story feel really engaging and a bit like a movie.

In Uncaster things aren’t just going badly for the Pringle family. Arabella Poskett, Lady of Uncaster Hall, is in financial trouble but her only servant Edie Boiler is a clever girl and is the key link to all the characters in this story. I don’t want to reveal what happens but I loved Edie’s character more than any other. I love the way she speaks, I could hear her voice in my head and she’s smart and strong and despite all the troubles everyone has, she’s determined to fix them.

The ending of the story is really satisfying and I love how it finished. It was a good and happy ending, and although this was predictable, I really enjoyed how the ending played out. I especially loved the added bit about what happened some years later. The whole story just feels so fun and interesting. Not only is it set in the past, but the resilience of the characters and their charm and wit just made this all the more enjoyable to read. I’d recommend this book to anyone of any age, although it’s aimed at kids, it’s a feel good story that I could see being made into a film or animation!

Do you like this book?  What about books set in the Victorian age?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂