I enjoyed this book - although not nearly as much as I thought I would. This is the story of Harriet Smithson, Irish-born actress and muse to Hector Berlioz.
It's not told in a linear fashion - it skips around from her childhood (which is told in third person) to times in London and Paris (both told in first person) but even those are not linear. One can tell where in 'time' you are as the sections are headed with dates. In between Harriet's story are sections where the characters she plays - i.e., Desdemona, Juliet, Anne Boleyn, etc. - tell their story which distracted me, and letters to her son written near the end of her life, which also distracted me.
inspite of these distractions I liked the book over all. The theatre was different at this time and actors/actresses were not thought of as respectable members of society. After a struggling career in London, Harriet makes a success of herself in Paris inspiring Berlioz to write his Symphonie fastastique and eventually marries him.
This was way out on a limb for me as it is not my usual read...but i really liked it. It was written so smoothly and the the era was wonderful to read about. It was an era of swooning and straw plaited hair. I'd love to read more of this romantic time, this author i enjoyed.