Book Reviews

Review: Maddy Alone, Golden Pavements, Blue Door Venture

Today’s review is actually three mini-reviews! I adored The Swish of the Curtaina 1940s book about a group of kids and young adults who set up an amateur theatre company in their village, and these three books are sequels to that. I recommend you read my review of the first book first, as that will make this make more sense…


Book: Maddy Alone by Pamela Brown

Read Before: No

Ownership: E-ARC provided by NetGalley free of charge. All opinions my own.

At the end of the first book, we find out that all the Blue Door children have been accepted to an acting school in London – except Maddy, who is too young to go. This book is about what she got up to in that lonely summer without her friends – which just so happens to be accidentally becoming a film star.

In the first book, Maddy wasn’t my favourite character of the seven children, as she can be a little babyish and spoilt, but it was nice to see her come into her own when she wasn’t being sat on by six older friends and sibings! The historical film that she ends up taking part in reminded me a lot of Pauline’s film work in Ballet Shoes, and this has a very similar feel, combining the wonder of stardom with the harsh realities of film-acting being very different to stage-acting.


Book: Golden Pavements by Pamela Brown

Read before: No

Ownership: E-ARC provided by NetGalley free of charge. All opinions my own.

This book covers the same time period as Maddy Alone, but shows what the rest of the group was up to while Maddy was becoming a film sensation. The six young adults are getting on wonderfully at the acting academy (definitely not RADA, oh no!), but the book doesn’t make them all prodigies. They have to work for their success, and they also have to work for their money. A lot of the book explores their jobs as they gain experience in the theatre, and I particularly enjoyed seeing Lyn and Vicky working in a small repertory company. It’s brilliant to see the determination of all the characters to make their dreams come true, and as in the first book, there’s a real sense of camaraderie and friendship and cosiness that suffuses the book.


Book: Blue Door Venture by Pamela Brown

Read before: No

Ownership: E-ARC provided by NetGalley free of charge. All opinions my own.

The Blue Door kids are back in their home town of Fenchester, and they’re setting up for real! Having read three books of their adventures, I was so proud to see them start the professional company they’ve been dreaming of! Unfortunately, it goes to pot quite quickly when they are taken in by a con-man who steals all of their money, and the rest of the book is split between the boys searching for him, and the girls going back into small repertory theatre jobs to sustain them financially. It’s of its time, and a little bit sexist, but the fact that Vicky, Lyn and Sandra are supporting the whole group is at least something (Maddy’s now old enough to be in London at the academy, so she’s still separate from the group). This book is quite different from the others in having the mystery element, but it still spends plenty of time in the theatre, and has that same nostalgic feel.

Overall, these books all get four cats from me – they’re not quite as enthralling as the first one, but they’re a fantastic continuation of the series, with characters that are easy to love in their dogged determination to make their dreams come true. I wish I’d had a chance to read them as a kid, and I’m really glad they’re being re-released!

4 star

2 thoughts on “Review: Maddy Alone, Golden Pavements, Blue Door Venture

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