A Touch of Stardust: Kate Alcott
Julie is what used to be known as a ‘small town girl’ but like so many others during the Golden Era of Hollywood, she is attracted there by the movie industry.
But unlike the others, Julie doesn’t have ambitions to be a movie star – she wants to be a writer.
She finds herself a job in a studio working as a lowly office girl for the David O.Selznick organisation. At the time she joins, production is just beginning on a colossal new film – Gone With the Wind.
Julie attracts the attention of top movie star, the gorgeous Carole Lombard, who employs her as her own personal assistant. Carole desperately wants to marry her lover, the incomparable Clark Gable, who is trying his best to get a divorce from his wife.
Carole is known for her plain speaking, her profanities and her tell-all attitude – which is very much frowned upon by the studio and its morals department. Julie, as her personal assistant, not only has to collect Miss Lombard’s dry cleaning, she also has to locate and collect wild animals to appear at riotous and extravagant parties given by the star and try to liaise between her outspoken employer and the gossip columnists.
Gone With the Wind is a huge gamble. Selznick is a perfectionist, somewhat of a genius and a complete chancer. He intends to make the most memorable film ever, no matter what it takes to do so.
Yet everything in the movie – the sets, the homes, the burning of Atlanta, are all fake facades. In some ways, Julie realises, this is true of Hollywood also and the personalities who live and work there. It’s hard to tell what is real and what is an illusion.
There are two love stories (or more?) that we and Julie follow in this book – the incredible romance between Clark Gable and Carole Lombard and the fictional story regarding Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara. It’s also a fascinating insight into how women were perceived and treated during this bizarre time in history.
The book is fabulously written and fast-paced. The author conveys her meaning succinctly as the action progresses. The characters are finely crafted and you’ll be thinking about them long after you’ve closed the book. See how fiction and fantasy melt with reality.
I loved every minute of A Touch of Stardust
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