Bernard Taylor is a wonderful author. His delicate and articulate style creates a setting that deceitfully snares an unsuspecting reader and lulls him into a false sense of security.
Rosemary Paul is a fading star, with an adoring public, long forgotten. She lives out her remaining years as a recluse in New York ably supported by her good friend and companion Carrie Markham. A limited record release of her back catalogue has resulted in a small resurgence of the singer's popularity. Rejuvenated and aided by some close theatrical friends she comes to believe that the unthinkable might now be possible, namely a return to performing in front of her fans. London has been chosen as the venue for this momentous occasion. With financial support guaranteed and the new slim remodeled star about to be unveiled, it seems that nothing can stop the expected rebirth of an iconic legend....
I was ambushed and totally astonished not once but twice by the direction this story took in the closing chapters. To reveal anymore dear reader would destroy the delights and twists that remain to be discovered by you. The black and white cover for The Comeback reflected a very "noir" and old Hollywood feel to the novel. The character of Rosemary reminds me so much of such faded legends as Bette Davis and Joan Crawford and in particular their casting in that classic 1962 movie "Whatever happened to Baby Jane" Finally the scene is set and the world is about to meet and greet the once much loved Rosemary Paul. As she prepares to step out on the London stage the tension and anticipation is unbearable......"All at once the curtain no longer separated the stage from the audience. And the lights were changing, getting ready to illuminate her the second she stepped out. And the music, too-now playing the melody for her entrance. She couldn't move. Her hoarse breath loud in her ears, she stood there, rigid, as if her feet were fastened to the floor. Heart pounding, she reached out, her hand groping for support, and felt her fingers touch the wall of the proscenium arch. As best she could she grasped it and remained there, trembling, fixed to the spot....."
A story simply told but utterly absorbing in its unveiling, a masterpiece of the understated and highly recommended.