Alcott sprinkles stardust, and well!
About A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott: From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker comes a blockbuster novel that takes you behind the scenes of the filming of Gone with the Wind, while turning the spotlight on the passionate romance between its dashing leading man, Clark Gable, and the blithe, free-spirited actress Carole Lombard.
My two cents
|Gone with the Wind poster|
I'm probably one of the very few who hasn't read or watched Gone with the Wind but I was sufficiently intrigued by the premise of this novel.
If you're a Gone with the Wind fan – either the Pulitzer-prize winning book or the Academy-laden movie – I'm sure you'll appreciate this fictionalized insider peek of the filming of the epic Civil War movie. Get into the mind of temperamental yet visionary producer David Selznick. Witness Clark Gable's transformation into the dashing Rhett Butler and the beautiful Vivien Leigh into the much coveted role of Scarlett O'Hara. Then imagine all the busywork involved behind the scenes to create something this epic onscreen ... it's exciting stuff.
Playing out alongside the movie-making are some romances, foremost among them is the one between famous Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. This was intriguing to say the least, as Carole is depicted as a woman quite ahead of her times and her love affair with Clark as being the real deal.
I really enjoyed this historical fiction piece, which tackles a whole range of issues in pre-war Hollywood making for a complex, layered story. There is the difficulty of women breaking into the male-dominated screenwriting industry as shown in Julie Crawford's story. There is the glitz, glitter, the pressures and the superficiality of show business ... and yet there still exists "real people" and true love in this industry of make believe. There is also the politics surrounding how African Americans were being portrayed in movies, and mention of Hattie MacDaniel becoming the first African American to win an Oscar. Then there is the whole layer of impending war that adds a touch of despair.
If you're looking for more fact than fiction, this may disappoint. The storyline goes quite deeply into the the character of country girl Julie Crawford who wants to make it big in Hollywood as a screenwriter. It's this diversionary fluff that makes this appealing to chick lit lovers. I do have to mention that this draws quite heavily from memoirs and research to put together this character.
I think I had my expectations way, way up there. When I think "Gone with the Wind" I think epic, grand and ambitious. I wanted this to blow me away but it is still very much a worthwhile read, and you'll learn so much about old Hollywood!
Verdict: With engaging writing, interesting plots and sub-plots (albeit a little predictable), and a hopeful, star-studded historical fictionalization of the filming of an epic movie, this charming book is a must-read for Gone with the Wind fans.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher Doubleday for honest review consideration.