Book Review: The Steam Whistle Theatre Company by Vivian French

book review

Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: February 7th, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction
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Buy Links: Kinokuniya Malaysia | MPH Online
Source: Thank you Pansing Distribution for the review copy in exchange for an honest review


The wonderful adventures of a family theatre-troupe, touring Victorian England by train – a high-octane, high-drama romp, with a colourful company of characters.

Dark and deadly deeds, piratical plots, lost heiresses and poor little orphans – Vivian French conjures up the very spirit of Victorian theatre in a fabulous new novel for middle-grade readers. To avoid financial ruin, the Pringle family’s theatre-troupe has left London behind, travelling to the north of England by train. With new audiences to play to, and less competition, they hope to make enough money to pay off their debts back home. But will their plans be foiled by the odious Olio Sleevery? It’s time for young actors Rosie and Charlie to save the day, and, with the help of their new friend Edie Boiler, ensure the thunderous success of the company's first performance. 

A wonderful gallery of eccentric characters and an exuberant plot with a twist at the end ... this is storytelling at its theatrical best!


I think I have fallen in love with historical fiction genre. I have to thank Pansing for exposing me to this genre. Now, I have said it, let's move on to my thoughts of this book.

Pa Pringle's family owned a theatre company that is based in London, however, they face a financial stake which Pa Pringle decided to head north to Uncaster by train with his two children - Charlie and Rosie, Aunt Mags and Uncle Vinnie. Pa Pringle came out with a new name for his team - The Steam Whistle Theatre Company. Soon after they arrived in Uncaster, they face a new problem to find a lodging place for them and luckily, Arabella Poskett who is a widower that has been left with a huge debt by her late husband has making her room at her house for rent and that's how Pringle's family met Arabella Poskett.

Despite the struggle they face, Pringle's family definitely always looking at the positive side and trying their best in everything they do and to make it work well. They are indeed really are lovely characters. I sympathize of what happened with Arabella Poskett. Her children really are spoilt and rude to her but she tries not to dwell into it that much as other things are far important to her and needed to be taken care of - the debts. However, Arabella is such a sweet, innocent woman that has a lovely heart. Another spoilt and annoying characters are Little Baby Bubbles, the one and only Child Master of Magic and Escapology and Jago. I was entirely annoyed by both of them yet that what makes this story very much interesting to read and you wish they got a lesson learned for what they did, isn't it?

This is my first time reading a book written by Vivian French and I like her writing. It was really a smooth reading journey and interesting too. You can't hide your curiosity to know how, and what is going to happen next. The book set during Victorian England which I think I enjoy being in that time period.

The story pace was smoothly wheezing from page to page. Very enjoyable, the ending was amazing. I loved the characters and the story. I think the kids will enjoy reading the adventure journey in The Steam Whistle Theatre Company. I definitely recommend it.

Don't forget to get you a copy of The Steam Whistle Theatre Company by Vivian French in your nearest bookstore.

1 comment

Lotte Han said…
What a cool cover and interesting concept!

Lotte |