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Theatre of Marvels

Trade Paperback
Recommended Price 
May 2022
About the book: 
An immersive historical debut which tells the story of a mixed-race woman who plays a freak on the stage in Victorian London and finds herself caught in a reckoning with her own identity.
Crowds gather at Crillick's Variety Theatre, where curiosity is satisfied with displays of intrigue and fear. They're here for the star of the show - the Great Amazonia warrior. They needn't know this warrior is in fact Zillah, a mixed-race actress from the East End fooling them each night with her thrilling performance.
But something is amiss, and when Crillick's new act goes missing Zillah feels compelled to investigate, knowing the fates that can befall women in Victorian London.
From the bustle of the West India Docks to the coffee houses of Fleet Street to the parlours of Mayfair, Zillah's journey for answers will find her caught between both sides of her own identity, and between two men: her wealthy white admirer, and an African merchant appalled by her act.
Will Zillah be forced to confront the price of her own performance? And in risking everything can she also save herself?
Featuring a defiant heroine for our times and a theatrical world of fragile dreams and ruthless ambition, THEATRE OF MARVELS shines a light on the experience of being Black and British in Victorian London through one woman's journey to live her life on her own terms.
About the Author

In 2018, LIANNE DILLSWORTH graduated from Royal Holloway with an MA in creative writing with distinction, and in 2019, she won a place on the London Library Emerging Writers Programme. Most recently she was awarded a bursary place for underrepresented writers on the Jericho Writers Self-Editing course and short-listed for the SI Leeds Literary Prize. She also holds an MA in Victorian studies, and her love for the period shines through her writing. She currently lives in London, where she works for the government on growing diversity within the Civil Service.

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