Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Touch of Stardust

Kate Alcott

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 ofGone 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.
In the ever-widening scope of this story, Julie is given a front-row seat to not one but two of the greatest love affairs of all time: the undeniable on-screen chemistry between Scarlett and Rhett, and off screen, the deepening love between Carole and Clark. Yet beneath the shiny fa├žade, things in Hollywood are never quite what they seem, and Julie must learn to balance career aspirations and her own budding romance with outsized personalities and the overheated drama on set. Vivid, romantic, and filled with Old Hollywood details, A Touch of Stardust will entrance, surprise, and delight. (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts
Julie leaves the midwest for Hollywood. She doesn’t want to be an actress like all the other young women. She wants to be a screenwriter, a profession very few women have been successful at during Julie’s lifetime. She lucks out and gets a job as Carole Lombard’s assistant. Carole’s significant other just so happens to be Clark Gable. Carole is on the set during the filming of Gone With the Wind. For this reason, Julie also gets to be on the set. Julie’s story unfolds during the creation of this epic film.

I thought this was a very smart story line. We get a love story as we follow Julie along as she strives to make her dreams come true. We get a bit of a history lesson regarding Carole Lombard and Clark Gable’s relationship. And most interesting of all, the little tidbits related to the making of Gone With the Wind.

It took me a while to connect with the main character Julie. But I eventually warmed to her story. Ms. Alcott has created a character who is smart and ambitious. Writing this tale with Gone With the Wind as the backdrop made the book all that more interesting. Nicely done!

My thanks to Doubleday Books, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

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