A Stratford Jewel
20th Century Sagas, no. 4
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In 1926 the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-on-Avon burnt down, barely five weeks before the start of the annual Festival. Rosa Greenwood and her sister Celia were devastated. They had small roles in the Festival, hoping it would lead to acting careers.
While helping to remove priceless treasures from the theatre Library Rosa met Max Higham, an American architect in Europe studying theatre design. He stayed to help when the Festival plays were performed in the converted Picture House, which became the Temporary Theatre for six years while a new design for a replacement Memorial Theatre was sought, and then built.
Rosa was wary of her growing attraction to Max, yet reluctant to marry Adam Thorn, a lifelong friend and distant cousin. There was no future with Max, who kissed her and left her to return to Virginia and the girl his family expected him to marry. Celia was encouraged to run away to London and audition, by the actor Gilbert Meadows, and begs the help of her friend Agnes.
Furious, her father forbad Rosa to contemplate more acting, while Jack, her older brother who was a changed person since he fought in the war, spends his days driving waggons for the family carrier business. Can any of them achieve their hearts' desires?