A couple of years back I went on a tour of a wonderful Art Deco cinema as part of Open Architecture week.
It had briefly been used as a Bingo parlour after the cinema closed and then had been left empty for some years. Now it had been bought and was being restored to its former glory by a Born again/gospel type of church.
It had originally held around 4000 people if all the seating was being used but was now being extended by the church to hold more…
It was opened in 1937 as a theatre as well as a cinema and stars such as Larry Adler and George Formby played there. It was the largest ever built in England and was seen as a tribute to the Empire State Building with its 120 foot central tower.
Going in now you can still see the massive chandelier in the foyer that was modelled after one in Buckingham Palace!
Ruach ministries have kept or restored I believe, the grand organ and were intending to build a baptismal font into the stage when I went round – quite common I understand in these types of churches.
Reading this book about Hope Street Church set me in mind of this setting – as the congregation size is clearly similar. And from what one reads the service and ministeries are also much of the same model.
So having looked at the church – what about the people and the story?
Well, you certainly need a church setting like this to have such interesting characters and storylines. After all, the average Church of England congregation here usually consists of 10 elderly women (and sometimes but not always, a dog).
In Hope Street there may well be the opportunity for romantic entanglements and secrets.
The cents on the bill scam is a far from new idea. Though it is more normally done by rounding down rather than adding on though. For example on wages where the salary comes to an amount ending in .01 the .01 is rounded down to the nearest whole number and the .01 penny/cent is transferred across to your ‘hidden’ bank account in a country where it cannot be found…
So sophistication is not the strong suit of this story.
It is sweet and sugary and feel good and reminds me of a foxtrot dress with lots of layers underneath (the skirt) that make it bounce and swish but are net and rather scratchy on the skin. The story has a petticoat – the prayer group and the members are the different layers of nets in all the different colours (I remember i had one with pink and lemon layers) moving around the dance floor in rather a traditionalist form of the step under the dress, which is sweet and demure with rosebuds and lace.
I give this book 3 stars.