At the end of February I received a very exciting invitation from author Lissa Evans. Her novel, Their Finest Hour and a Half has been adapted for film, and she asked if I would like to attend a private screening at the Covent Garden Hotel at the end of March.
I was delighted to accept, and very excited. I had never been to a private screening before and didn't really know what to expect.
My blog has enabled me to do so many things that I had never dreamt of before. I've been to a party at The Ivy, fancy events at places such as the St Pancras Hotel, and now I was to attend a private screening! It's a far cry from sleepy Gainsborough!
I'm a big fan of Lissa Evans, her book Crooked Heart was one of my favourite reads of 2015 and I've been lucky enough to meet her a couple of times. She's funny and friendly, just like her books.
It stars Gemma Arterton as Catrin Cole, with Sam Claflin as Tom Buckley and Bill Nighy as Ambrose Hilliard.
The private screening room in the Covent Garden Hotel is beautiful, with just 50 seats - very large,
and very comfortable seats. Forget the awkward, uncomfortable seats in the local Vue, these are pure luxury, I usually fidget and shuffle, and can never get comfortable in the cinema, but I could have honestly sat there all day.
I met my friend Nina and we sat alongside Cathy Rentenzbrink and Cari Rosen as Lissa Evans took to the stage to introduce the film. Lissa is a wonderful speaker, and her passion and enthusiasm for the movie is contagious - you can really tell that she loves it, and is so pleased with it. She's also got a small part in the film, as a make-up girl, and it was fabulous to catch a glimpse of her, in full period costume - she assured us that wearing a corset was a strange experience!
Their Finest is absolutely wonderful. It is funny, and heart breaking, and warm and so well acted. The whole of the audience were spellbound. We laughed heartily, we sniffed away our tears and we all applauded loudly at the end. It really is a fabulous film. I'm definitely going to watch it again when it's on general release, and I heartily recommend it. The acting is superb and the plot is unique and witty,
In 1940, a married woman (Gemma Arterton) and a screenwriter (Sam Claflin) develop a growing attraction while working together on a propaganda film about the evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk, France.
I know lots of people prefer to read the book before they watch the film adaptation, if you haven't yet read the book Their Finest Hour and a Half, it has been re-issued to tie in with the movie release.
Re-titled Their Finest and with a beautiful new cover, it was published by Black Swan in paperback on 6 April 2017
It's 1940. In a small advertising agency in Soho, Catrin Cole writes snappy lines for Vida Elastic and So-Bee-Fee gravy browning. But the nation is in peril, all skills are transferable and there's a place in the war effort for those who have a knack with words.
Catrin is conscripted into the world of propaganda films. After a short spell promoting the joy of swedes for the Ministry of Food, she finds herself writing dialogue for 'Just an Ordinary Wednesday', a heart-warming but largely fabricated 'true story' about rescue and romance on the beaches of Dunkirk. And as bombs start to fall on London, she discovers that there's just as much drama, comedy and passion behind the scenes as there is in front of the camera . . .
Originally published as Their Finest Hour and a Half