I Am Dust by Louise Beech

I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour today for I Am Dust by the wonderful Louise Beech. I’m a huge fan so this is a real honour for me. Many thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite and my review copy of the book.

When iconic musical Dust is revived twenty years after the leading actress was murdered in her dressing room, a series of eerie events haunts the new cast…
The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…
Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?
Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?
Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.
And Chloe has been watching…

Louise Beech has done it once again and with I Am Dust she has written a stunning narrative. She always connects her characters emotionally to her readers and here she creates a compelling and almost magical storyline for them to take centre stage in. As always I know that my own words won’t be able to convey the sheer beauty of this book and how it made me feel so you will just have to trust me when I say that you need to read this beautifully written, atmospheric and ethereal book.

Louise has used her theatrical background to great effect here setting I Am Dust within a theatre. The resurrection after 20 years of the musical Dust once again brings attention back to The Dean Wilson Theatre with questions over who will win the starring role of Esme Black. The original actress who played her, Morgan Miller, was found murdered in her dressing room jinxing the musical and leaving it confined to the past…until now. But there are now strange goings on within the theatre, many of them felt by usher Chloe. Chloe hears strange noises over her radio headset and is strangely drawn to the dressing room where Morgan died. A face from her past also brings back disturbing memories for Chloe and as the opening night for Dust approaches, it seems that Chloe herself is the key to everything.

Having worked in a theatre myself when I was younger, I have to say that this book portrayed both the people and the atmosphere of this setting perfectly. Theatre people have a camaraderie that, combined with a passion for the arts, binds them together. Chloe felt like a very special character and I found her intense but really likeable. And I felt very strangely protective of her especially when we flash back to her, Jess and Ryan when they were younger. I wanted to stop them messing around with things that they shouldn’t have been messing with!

I Am Dust is a very different novel for Louise Beech but it is no less emotional. I found myself tearing up towards the end and tried to keep hold of the emotions that had been ignited in me but failed totally so ended up making a terrible sobbing sound as those feelings completely overwhelmed me! I just don’t know how she does it! She creates a unique reading experience with each book she publishes but each one ends up leaving me a snivelling mess! She has a real gift-an insight into the emotions of her characters that pulls them off the page and buries them deep within your heart. Her writing is so beautifully involving and it takes on an almost ghostly quality here with Louise Beech herself a shadowy presence in the background watching over her creations.

I loved I Am Dust. It was clever and compelling with a spine-chilling eeriness and an ending that brought everything together perfectly. And I can’t wait to see what Louise Beech delivers next-although hopefully it will come with a big box of tissues! Highly recommended.

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. Her second book, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.

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