(I used this picture because it's in the Common Domain. I am going to look for one that is more suitable.)
An old coach house covered with wisteria, with its own theatre with red plush chairs and chandeliers, and a ballet school. This is the setting for Rumer Godden's novel.
The coach house in Anna Pavlova's old haunt, Hampstead, is almost a character in this novel. The struggles to keep the ballet school and theatre going will be a central theme. As Godden writes, 'A theatre is blooded in triumphs and tears.'
Madame Anna, the main character, runs the ballet school and theatre. She is a typical Russian ballet diva - vain and dominating but good-hearted. She surrounds herself with relics of her great career in the ballet, such as a chocolate box from the Tsar and an opal from the people of Sydney. These relics are 'personal memorials to be held in reverence and an incentive to faith.'
There are also the characters of Lion and Caroline, the premier stars of her theatre. We are only told a little bit about them, but we are told that Caroline's feelings are 'not exceptional' and Lion is not musical.
Miss Ilse, who was married to Madame's brother, and Mr.Felix are some of the other characters. They devote their lives to Madame but they are also strong characters.
NB: Read about Carnaval.
Unfortunately, I probably won't have time to go on with this book until after mid-March.