Adele is a step away from Nicola Cassidy’s previous books, December Girl and The Nanny at Number 43. It’s a step that Nicola takes with grace and confidence, and rightly so. She has produced a well researched, fabulous third novel.
Written in five parts, this book, which Nicola Cassidy describes as bio fiction, takes us from Audition straight through to Encore. In California, in the ’70s Ellie Morgan is on a mission to research the life of Adele Astaire, sister and original dance partner to Fred. Ellie wants to tell her story, to highlight her time in history. From their childhood in Nebraska to her teenage years in New York. Adele’s friendship with her lady’s maid Patricia Ryan and her married life in the stunning Lismore Castle in Co. Waterford here in Ireland. It is all captured between these pages
At the turn of the 20th century, Adele Austerlitz and her younger brother Fred move from their home in Nebraska to New York. While their father remained in Nebraska to work, their mother homeschooled them as they trained hard at a professional stage academy. At one point they feared they would be stopped by the authorities, however, their mother was a determined woman. She pleads their case and they win. The Astaires could keep on dancing. Those years, with gruelling schedules, were the catapult that launched a spectacular career for Fred and Adele.
In 1923, the Astaires arrive in London. At this time, Adele was most likely the more famous of the duo. They performed night after night and partied with Royalty. This side of the Atlantic could not get enough of Fred and Adele. The 1920s saw a wealth of travel, opening nights, exhaustion, parties and the high life of the roaring twenties.
Adele met and fell in love with Charles Cavendish, the son of the Duke of Devonshire, who gifted them Lismore Castle in Waterford as their home. It was love and her marriage to Charles that signalled the end of Adele’s stage career. Lismore Castle captured Adele’s heart and she adored it. Her marriage, for a while, was happy but heartache befell her when her baby daughter died. Both she and Charles were devastated. The depiction of that time and later on when they lost twin boys moved me to tears.
Despite their ups and downs, Adele loved Charles and was devasted by his passing. At that time she was working in London, helping soldiers during the war. She did remarry and went on to live a long life. She continued to visit Lismore, it always held a special place in her heart.
Within these pages, Nicola portrays a young determined child, an ambitious, spirited young woman. She captures the happy carefree wife and the utter devastation of a young mother. Nicola Cassidy is an eloquent writer who has an innate ability to draw you into the time and place of the period she’s writing and to feel the emotions of her characters. Fact interspersed with fiction has delivered a wonderful book that will take you on an emotional trip around the dancefloor.
Nicola Cassidy is a writer and blogger from Co. Louth, Ireland. She studied journalism at Dublin City University and worked as a political press officer before moving to marketing management. Her short stories, spoken word and plays have been shortlisted in a number of competitions and published in anthologies. While researching her third novel Adele, she visited the Astaire Archives in Boston University to study family photographs, scrapbooks, diaries and letters. She also met with the chief warden of Lismore Castle in Co. Waterford where Adele sent much of her life to speak with sources who have worked with her.
It’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the blog tour for Adele, please visit the other reviewers and read their thoughts on the book.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Adele in exchange for this review, which is my own honest opinion.