If I had been on holiday when I read this book, I would have consumed it in one sitting, no problem. Hattie Holden Edmonds successfully draws in the reader from the start and from there Cinema Lumière develops into an intelligent and satisfying novel: it’s light (but not fluffy), lively, and populated with interesting, convincing characters.
Hannah, the main character, is a features writer for a health magazine and lives in a flat in London with her recalcitrant and utterly lovable dog, Nellie. Hannah is likeable and funny, with quirks and baggage galore; as the story unfolds, we find her navigating the highs (and anxieties) of a new relationship, as well as changes at her workplace and a shift in her relationship with her mother.
The narrative generally moves forward at an even pace, although for me the final chapters feel a tad hurried and disjointed – or maybe that’s down to my default end-of-a-good-book mode, which involves reading in fits and starts, both wanting to get to the end, yet reluctant to do so! Alongside the main storyline are glimpses of Hannah’s past: time-shifts in which Hannah reflects back on significant people and events from her life. This way of adding context and background to the story is employed effectively and flows along seamlessly with the narrative most of the time, but very occasionally jars a little (perhaps intentionally).
The author’s knowledge and affection for London are evident, and she provides us with some evocative snapshots of metropolitan life. Hannah’s co-stars in Cinema Lumière are cannily and meticulously portrayed, from those who appear frequently to those who we only meet briefly. However, I would have liked there to have been more coverage of Victor – a pivotal player in Hannah’s life, and one of the most interesting characters.
In case you couldn’t tell, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it’s just the ticket for anyone wanting an entertaining, off-beat, uplifting read. I hope that Hattie Holden Edmonds will be back with another novel before too long!
This has been reviewed as part of Hattie’s current blog tour. Check out the other articles in the tour poster (click to enlarge).