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Book Review: BOUBLIL AND SCHONBERG'S LES MISERABLES, Sarah WhitfieldThe musical phenomenon that continues to take audiences by storm is arguably uplifting and depressing in equal measure. In this new book, Sarah Whitfield explores the audience's relationship with Les Miserables and offers an entertaining dissection of the show's success.

Somewhat surprisingly, Whitfield confesses from the outset that it is not she who has a great affinity with the show, but rather her late father, who inspired the book.

This proves to be a great benefit, however, as Whitfield is able to explore the unexplainable affinity so many have for Les Miserables without being caught up in the bubble herself.

It would be heretical if any self-confessed musical theatre nerd had not been in some kind of contact with the stage adaptation of Victor Hugo's mammoth novel, and each one has their own likes and dislikes; the book lovingly lays all of these bare.

In the attempt to collate the emotions of the 350 people the author interviewed about the musical, she captures a sense of the broad church of followers the musical has.

As a Senior Lecturer in Musical Theatre at the University of Wolverhampton, Whitfield couples her own academic insight with the emotional incredibly well; drawing on her father's relationship with the musical, the book is well crafted, but remains accessible to non-academic audiences.

Indeed, in its exploration of the musical itself, the taking apart of the score is particularly insightful - and for that alone, the book is well worth consideration.

As the new addition to Routledge's Fourth Wall series, a growing collection of short books on famous plays and musicals, this is an engaging, intimate and touching insight into the fan-favourite musical.

Offering a thorough examination of its success, told through its own fanbase, this book is a must-have for the stagey, but also an insightful read for those less fond of the melancholic French revolutionaries.

Boublil and Schonberg's Les Miserables is available now

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