I was so excited for this book! It had everything I love and I couldn’t want to get my hands on it- electronically anyway. I mean this book it spoke to me.
It tells the story of a want to be writer who gets a job as assistant to Carole Lombard right at the time she’s marrying Clark Gable right at the time he’s filming Gone with the Wind. Julie (the main character) also starts dating the right-hand man to David O. Selznick the super perfectionist producer behind Gone with the Wind. There’s a lot of behind the scenes in this one. Also a ton of cameos and name-dropping including the cast of the movie, Louella Parsons, Cary Grant, Chasens (the restaurant), Laurence Olivier and many others.
There is actually a story here though honestly I could have just done with the movie stuff I was in that kind of mood. Julie is pretty typical. A spunky girl with a big heart from a small town looking to make it and stay true to herself in Hollywood. There’s some of the typical ‘guy’ behavior when she does catch a break but she soldiers on. Her relationship with Andy touches on a deeper vein as he’s a Jewish man with family in Europe as things over there are going to hell on the brink of a war Hollywood is doing whatever it can to avoid.
So for someone like me it pretty much had it all.
Yet I found it fell flat. It took me way longer than it should have to read this one. I’ve finished books I’ve hated in shorter time and after thinking about it I think it’s because Julie wasn’t much of a main character. The writing is good but she’s so overshadowed by Lombard or Gable or Leigh. There’s one scene when she tries to comfort Vivien Leigh in which you pretty much forget Julie’s there.
Even with Andy. I liked the relationship very much but the more Julie tries to fight for it despite everything Andy has going on the greater the difference in the characters becomes apparent. To give this story credit though the characters pick up on that as well.
Another thing this story does well was the sense of doom. Pre-World War II Hollywood and Gone with the Wind was the last big party even if they didn’t know it at the time.
Recommend: Yes. Despite my lack of connection to the main character I found there was more than enough to keep my attention and make A Touch of Stardust an overall enjoyable read.