When the Curtain Falls is a cute and feel-good theatre-themed romance and ghost story. Olive Green and Oscar Bright are performing in the eponymous play, which was last performed in that theatre about 60 years ago. During that 1950s performance, the run was cut short when the lead actress, Fawn, was killed in a tragic accident involving a prop gun. Unbeknownst to Olive and Oscar, the actress’s ghost still haunts the theatre, and her lover, Walter, now a man in his 80s, still works there at the stage door.
Olive and Oscar’s romance is cute, if a bit repetitive. Because of his TV celebrity, Oscar prefers to keep their relationship on the down-low, and refuses to acknowledge the depth of his feelings for Olive. In contrast, Olive finds all the secrecy wearisome, and she is also feeling insecure about whether or not she’s even in Oscar’s league at all. Considering she’s the star of the show, and the cast members she’s jealous of as romantic rivals have much smaller roles, Olive’s insecurity is a bit hard to swallow. And when practically every other bit character tells both her and Oscar that they clearly love each other and that Oscar’s just being an idiot, the barriers keeping them apart feel flimsier than ever, and the will-they-won’t-they angle of their romance starts to feel a bit repetitive. Still, the pair is cute together, and it’s easy to wish them their happily ever after.
Somewhat more action-packed is the romance between Fawn and Walter in the 1950s when Fawn was the leading lady and Walter was the assistant stage door manager. The barrier to their romance was the play’s cruel and abusive producer, who was obsessed with making Fawn marry him. It’s a set-up straight out of a soap opera, or one of those old-fashioned movies — one can almost imagine the producer twirling a villainous moustache — and despite the tragic ending, it’s an absolutely entertaining tale.
The two love stories collide somewhat at the end, when ghosts manifest in the present-day reality. These ghostly scenes are too over-the-top to be frightening, and it’s just a fun, light-hearted read.
Overall, When the Curtain Falls is a cute, light-hearted theatrical read, and a fun way to spend a few quiet afternoons.
Kudos as well to the book designer. I love the cover design and the inside covers!
Thank you to Hachette Book Group Canada for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.