Theatre of Marvels by Lianne Dillsworth

Theatre of Marvels Book Cover

Theatre of Marvels
Lianne Dillsworth
General Fiction (Adult) | Historical Fiction | Multicultural Interest
Random House UK
28 Apr 2022


Zillah's star turn as the Great Amazonia has taken her from the slums of St Giles to headline billing at Crillick's Variety Show on Drury Lane. She's proud of her Black and British roots but if audiences discover she is fooling them each night, her existence will be shattered.

When a fellow stage act goes missing, Zillah determines to save her - for she knows better than anyone the dangers that hide within the gaslit streets of London.

Her pursuit of the truth takes her through the underbelly of the city to the parlors of Mayfair - and sees her caught in a web of lies, and between two powerful male admirers.

Everyone is playing a part and everyone has secrets they'll protect at any cost.
Will Zillah face ruin - or will she be the maker of her fate?

“The Replacement” by Melanie Golding is an extraordinary debut that left an indelible mark on my literary soul. From the very first page, I was ensnared by the chilling atmosphere Golding masterfully weaves. The air crackles with tension, and the shadows hold secrets that claw at your curiosity.

Zillah, our mixed-race heroine, strides onto the stage of Crillick’s Variety Theatre, her thrilling performance captivating the curious crowds. But beneath the warrior facade lies a woman navigating the treacherous currents of her own existence. Zillah’s defiance, vulnerability, and determination make her a heroine for our times.

The premise—a series of seemingly unrelated murders, each echoing infamous serial killers—sent shivers down my spine. Golding’s meticulous research shines through as she draws inspiration from real-life cases like Jeffrey Dahmer and Charles Manson. But here’s the brilliance: each murder has a unique twist, a different methodology that keeps you guessing.

Cara Elliott and Noah Deakin, the detectives investigating the case, are more than investigators; they’re flawed, determined souls. Their pursuit of the truth is relentless, and as the body count rises, so does the weight of their responsibility. The killer’s proximity to their lives adds urgency—a race against time and memory.

And then there’s Jessica Ambrose. Her desperation leaps off the pages. Accused of arson, haunted by her past, she’s a character you root for. Her connection to the ultimate copycat killer is a revelation—one that ties the threads of this intricate tapestry.

Golding’s prose is a symphony of suspense. Each chapter crescendos, revealing layers of darkness. The pacing is impeccable, urging you to read “just one more chapter” until dawn breaks. The twists? Oh, they’re there—subtle, unexpected, and utterly satisfying.

“The Replacement” isn’t just a thriller; it’s a descent into the human psyche. It explores obsession, legacy, and the echoes of history. As I turned the final page, I felt both exhilarated and haunted—a testament to Golding’s storytelling prowess.


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