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Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner: A Book Review

Stars Over Sunset Boulevard
Author: Susan Meissner
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Pages: 386
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: 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. 

     My Review: Gone With The Wind is one of my favorite movies of all time. So, when I saw that Stars Over Sunset Boulevard was about the story of two women set during the filming of Gone With The Wind, I immediately decided to read it hoping to be entranced again by Hollywood’s Golden Age. The story is about the lives of two struggling women in Hollywood, Violet and Audrey. Both of them have come to Hollywood to make their dreams realized. However, in order to get what they want, the two women soon become entangled in the webs of lies and deceit.

     Violet and Audrey are likable protagonists. Both of them have been hurt by their past. They have come to Hollywood to heal and to have a new start. They are roommates, and the two immediately become friends. Yet, they have different dreams of what they want in Hollywood. Audrey wants to make a name for herself, and Violet wants to find love. While at times their friendship had its rough moments, it nevertheless stayed strong throughout the whole novel. The two women were very flawed, but they were human. They made mistakes and regretted them. Thus, they were very sympathetic characters.

     Overall, this book is about friendship, love, choices, and sacrifices. It is about two women who are trying to find their identity. The story was slow and repetitive at times, but I thought the characters were complex and interesting. The filming of Gone With The Wind is in the background, for the two characters work behind the scenes. I loved the tidbits about the movie, but I wanted it to be more than just a background. I wanted David Selznick, Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Leslie Howard, and Olivia de Havilland to have interactions with the characters. I also did not like the present story-line. I found it unnecessary because it did not help further the plot. Still, I recommend this book to fans of Gone With The Wind movie, and to anyone interested in Hollywood’s Golden Age and are looking for a story about an everlasting friendship.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


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