Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott narrated by Cassandra Campbell


A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott narrated by Cassandra Campbell

Available in-house in Hardcover


Synopsis from Goodreads:
When Julie Crawford leaves Fort Wayne, Indiana for Hollywood, she never imagines she'll cross paths with Carole Lombard, the dazzling actress from Julie's provincial Midwestern hometown. Although the young woman has dreams of becoming a screenwriter, the only job Julie's able to find is one in the studio publicity office of the notoriously demanding producer David O. Selznick —who is busy burning through directors, writers and money as he begins filming Gone with the Wind.    

Although tensions run high on the set, Julie finds she can step onto the back lot, take in the smell of smoky gunpowder and the soft rustle of hoop skirts, and feel the magical world of Gone with the Wind come to life. Julie's access to real-life magic comes when Carole Lombard hires her as an assistant and invites her into the glamorous world Carole shares with Clark Gable—who is about to move into movie history as the dashing Rhett Butler.

Carole Lombard, happily profane and uninhibited, makes no secret of her relationship with Gable, which poses something of a problem for the studio as Gable is technically still married—and the last thing the film needs is more negative publicity. Julie is there to fend off the overly curious reporters, hoping to prevent details about the affair from slipping out. But she can barely keep up with her blonde employer, let alone control what comes out of Carole's mouth, and--as their friendship grows - soon finds she doesn't want to. Carole, both wise and funny, becomes Julie's model for breaking free of the past.



This review is of the audiobooks
First off I need to tell you I am a huge classic movie fan; I think movies made before 1950 are the best movies out there. That is why I requested this book from edelweiss but then I saw that Cassandra Campbell narrates it so I waited for the audiobook.

I loved all the insider info into the fights, casting, script writing, censors and producers that went on during the filming of this movie. I am so glad Louis B. Mayer didn’t get his way and that David O. Selsnick filmed the ending he wanted because it was the best ending possible!

Julie Crawford a young writer from Indiana comes to Hollywood to write for the movies, on her first job she doesn’t get a message to one of the directors of Gone With the Wind fast enough and is fired on the spot, however she has just met a beautiful woman who says she will help her out. When someone asks if she knows who the lady is she admits she looks familiar but can’t place her; the woman turns out to be Carole Lombard soon to be wife of Clark Gable who stars and Rhett Butler in the film. What I found a little weird about these scenes was if you are going to Hollywood to write for the movies wouldn’t you at least know a little about the stars you hope to write for? But she and Carole become very good friends and I loved all the scenes of them together Carole seemed like a very down-to-earth person. Also on that day she meets Hank Weinstein and they start a relationship even though he is Jewish. This is 1938-39 so Hitler is starting his holocaust of the Jewish people including Hanks grandparents so he is having a tough time of it.

I was impressed with Gable’s civil rights ideals (I really hope they were true) when he sees that the bathrooms and other places are segregated he has a fit and fights for their rights of non-segregation. Including almost not going to the premier because Hattie McDaniel and Butterfly McQueen would have to use a back door and sit in the colored section, even though it was Hattie who convinced Gable to go even when she boycotted the event.

This was a fun book it was such an insider’s look into old Hollywood and especially Carole Lombard & Clark Gable’s relationship. I did think Julie could be quite na├»ve but it was the 30’s and she grew up in Indiana so …

Cassandra Campbell’s narration was as always fabulous, I like how she made Clark gruff but didn’t try to imitate his voice, every character had their own cadence and tone and you were never left guessing as to who was talking.


If you are a fan of old Hollywood, and /or Gone With the Wind I think you will enjoy this book very much. I have enjoyed all of Alcott’s books so if you haven’t read anything by her before give her a try you’ll be glad you did!


4 ½ Stars

Monday, April 20, 2015

At the Water’s Edge by, Sara Gruen


At the Water’s Edge by, Sara Gruen


Synopsis from Goodreads:
In her stunning new novel, Gruen returns to the kind of storytelling she excelled at in Water for Elephants: a historical timeframe in an unusual setting with a moving love story. Think Scottish Downton Abbey.

After embarrassing themselves at the social event of the year in high society Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve of 1942, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off financially by Ellis’s father, a former army Colonel who is already embarrassed by his son’s inability to serve in WWII due to his being colorblind. To Maddie’s horror, Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father’s favor is to succeed in a venture his father attempted and very publicly failed at: he will hunt the famous Loch Ness monster and when he finds it he will restore his father’s name and return to his father’s good graces (and pocketbook). Joined by their friend Hank, a wealthy socialite, the three make their way to Scotland in the midst of war. Each day the two men go off to hunt the monster, while another monster, Hitler, is devastating Europe. And Maddie, now alone in a foreign country, must begin to figure out who she is and what she wants. The novel tells of Maddie’s social awakening: to the harsh realities of life, to the beauties of nature, to a connection with forces larger than herself, to female friendship, and finally, to love.

My Review:
Rich party kids Ellis, his wife Maddie and their best friend Hank could care less that there is a war going on, all they want to do is party, but when a night of partying goes a bit too far and Ellis causes his parents some embarrassment they are tossed from the family home. To try to get back into his parent’s good graces the threesome decides to travel to Scotland to find the great monster that caused quite a stir when Ellis’ parents were involved in the search years ago. What starts out as a whim turns into something completely different.

Both Ellis and Hank are exempt from fighting in the military Ellis is color blind and Hank has flat feet so they both seem so oblivious to the fact that there is a war going on that they travel by ship into Nazi infested waters to the great Loch ness but what they see on the ship and in Scotland still has no effect on the two men but Maddie is starting to see the world, her husband and his friend with very different eyes. Once in Scotland we see a very different side to Ellis and it is not a pretty side he seemed like a happy-go-lucky party boy but there is a dark side a very dark side and Maddie does not like what she sees.

I loved Maddie's journey throughout this book from party girl without much will of her own to a strong woman on her own two feet. I really enjoyed this book and read it very quickly, I enjoyed the growing friendships Maddie made in Scotland and the side stories about the locals.

The writing of this book, the descriptions of Scottish countryside and how the war affected the locals were so good it gave a bit of a day in life of these people so affected by the war. Plus we have the loch ness monster and who doesn’t enjoy a loch ness story.

All in all I really enjoyed this story and would recommend it.


4 Stars