Published by NAL on January 5th 2016
Genres: 20th Century, Friendship, Historical, Women
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In this new novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life, two women working in Hollywood during its Golden Age discover the joy and heartbreak of true friendship.
Los Angeles, Present Day. When an iconic hat worn by Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind ends up in Christine McAllister’s vintage clothing boutique by mistake, her efforts to return it to its owner take her on a journey more enchanting than any classic movie…
Los Angeles, 1938. Violet Mayfield sets out to reinvent herself in Hollywood after her dream of becoming a wife and mother falls apart, and lands a job on the film-set of Gone With the Wind. There, she meets enigmatic Audrey Duvall, a once-rising film star who is now a fellow secretary. Audrey’s zest for life and their adventures together among Hollywood’s glitterati enthrall Violet…until each woman’s deepest desires collide. What Audrey and Violet are willing to risk, for themselves and for each other, to ensure their own happy endings will shape their friendship, and their lives, far into the future.
It’s been a while since I’ve shared my thoughts on the books I’ve been reading, or blogged about anything to be honest. I’ve not been reading nearly as much as I did earlier in the year either, but a few recent reads have helped me regain speed there. One of those has been a book I finished up last week, Stars Over Sunset Boulevard.
I hadn’t read anything by Susan Meissner before, I actually hadn’t heard of Susan Meissner before Stars Over Sunset Boulevard was pitched to me. Shame on me, right? I know now that Stars won’t be the only book I read by Susan. I already added A Fall of Marigolds and Secrets of a Charmed Life to my wish list!
What made me pick up Stars Over Sunset Boulevard?
I’ve said over and over again that there only certain historical fiction books that I enjoy. Primarily those set in the early- to mid- 20th century, and stories that jump back and forth in time.
Stars spanned the late 1930’s through the early 1960’s, and was interspersed with snippets from 2012. So it definitely hit the mark there. From the introduction of a hat used in the production of Gone With the Wind in the first few pages, I wanted more.
Stars had a cast of realistic characters that you can imagine yourself making friends with. The relationship between Violet and Audrey was spot on. Probably the most enjoyable part of the book for me was getting to know the two women, and see how their friendship changed over the years.
The early part of Stars takes part during the production of Gone with the Wind. Film and Hollywood during those golden years is always a topic I enjoy reading about. The whole process is intriguing, and the depth of research that Susan Meissner undertook is clear. I’m sure she could’ve written an entire book, and more besides, just about that!
What I enjoyed almost as much as the novel itself, was the reading guide included with the paperback edition I was sent. The reading guide included a question and answer with Susan Meissner, and offered additional insight into the characters, and some of the events which took place during the novel. Susan also answers a question about the inspiration for her upcoming work, which is as yet untitled, and I couldn’t be more intrigued!
I’m thrilled to have taken a chance on a new to me author, and am looking forward to delving in to more of Susan’s stories and meeting all of her wonderful characters.