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Shadowplay Review 2020 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Stars: Taylor Kitsch, Logan Marshall-Green, Nina Hoss
Shadowplay is a historical fiction novel set in Victorian London. It follows the lives of Henry Irving, Bram Stoker, and Ellen Terry and their involvement in the opening and management of the Lyceum Theater. We mainly follow Stoker, who is responsible for managing the theatre, and how his time there as well as other personal matters inspired him to write Dracula.
Going into this book, I was unaware of much of Stoker’s life, including the fact that Dracula did not receive its merit in the literary world until well after his passing. O’Connor mentions in his author’s note that this is a fairly loose depiction of his time at the theatre, and while that was the case, this book still has me interested in learning more about Stoker’s life and his writing process.
Shadowplay was an incredibly atmospheric read, perfect for those who enjoy gothic literature and classics of the Victorian era. The descriptions and settings in this novel were so well-written that they were easily one of my favorite aspects of my reading experience and the book as a whole.
The integration of other literary figures at the time also made this story feel broader as a whole. Part of Stoker’s storyline includes the accusations made about his friend Oscar Wilde, and how Stoker is troubled by the gossip surrounding his friend. Again, as a fan of Victorian literature I found these parts of the story interesting and immersive.
Despite all of these things, I did find that the story was lacking in some areas. This was very much a character-based story; specifically a look into Stoker’s time at the theatre and his inspirations at the time. And while I am a big fan of character-based stories, I found that there wasn’t a strong exploration of his character itself. Rather, it was a glimpse of his life at a certain time, and to me this kind of timeline only works if there is a specific theme explored during that time. If there was one, it likely got muddled with all of the other conflicts that take place over the course of the novel. There are a lot of different characters and sub-plots that take place over the course of the novel, so it often felt more like a snapshot of the era than a story with a natural progression.
Despite all this, Shadowplay was certainly still an interesting novel overall. I could sense the author’s intent on sharing Stoker’s story, even if not as close to the real thing as it could have been. This has definitely provided me with some insight into his life in Victorian London, and has me interested in reading similar books and doing more research on Stoker’s life and the era in the future.
If you’re looking for an atmospheric novel with gothic elements, I do think Shadowplay is a good pick. And while it may be dry at times, learning the inspiration behind one of the world’s most well-known classics, plus others’ first reactions to the book, certainly made for an interesting read.
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