Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Julie's Review: All The Stars in the Heavens

Author: Adriana Trigiani
Series: None
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 464
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: Nothing like old school Hollywood to bring a little romance back
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: Born in the golden age of Hollywood, All the Stars in the Heavens captures the luster, drama, power, and secrets that could only thrive in the studio system—viewed through the lives of an unforgettable cast of players creating magic on the screen and behind the scenes. In this spectacular saga as radiant, thrilling, and beguiling as Hollywood itself, Adriana Trigiani takes us back to Tinsel Town's golden age—an era as brutal as it was resplendent—and into the complex and glamorous world of a young actress hungry for fame and success. With meticulous, beautiful detail, Trigiani paints a rich, historical landscape of 1930s Los Angeles, where European and American artisans flocked to pursue the ultimate dream: to tell stories on the silver screen. The movie business is booming in 1935 when twenty-one-year-old Loretta Young meets thirty-four-year-old Clark Gable on the set of The Call of the Wild. Though he's already married, Gable falls for the stunning and vivacious young actress instantly. Far from the glittering lights of Hollywood, Sister Alda Ducci has been forced to leave her convent and begin a new journey that leads her to Loretta. Becoming Miss Young's secretary, the innocent and pious young Alda must navigate the wild terrain of Hollywood with fierce determination and a moral code that derives from her Italian roots. Over the course of decades, she and Loretta encounter scandal and adventure, choose love and passion, and forge an enduring bond of love and loyalty that will be put to the test when they eventually face the greatest obstacle of their lives. Anchored by Trigiani's masterful storytelling that takes you on a worldwide ride of adventure from Hollywood to the shores of southern Italy, this mesmerizing epic is, at its heart, a luminous tale of the most cherished ties that bind. Brimming with larger-than-life characters both real and fictional—including stars Spencer Tracy, Myrna Loy, David Niven, Hattie McDaniel and more—it is it is the unforgettable story of one of cinema's greatest love affairs during the golden age of American movie making.

Review: All the Stars in the Heavens is so easy to get swept up in. It is the time period of Hollywood that everyone refers to as the "Golden Age" and it's easy to see why. It is glitz and glamour but it's also heartbreak and heartache. It's also when the stars were tied to one studio which meant they were limited to what movies/roles they could get attached too.

It is quite apparent from a little google searching that I had to do while reading this book, that Ms. Trigiani did her research. Sometimes real life is more fascinating than anything a writer can dream up. That's probably why I do find historical fiction one of my favorite genres. Loretta Young was quite the character. She was young when she started in the business and her mom invested in real estate for her, which served her well later in life. She also knew her time in front of the camera was limited, so she tried her best to prepare for that.

Everyone knows who Clark Gable was but I never knew much about his personal life. To me, he was and pretty much always will be, Rhett Butler. It is evident he was quite the ladies man and didn't really know how to be with one woman. He was a man in love with love. He loved the feeling of finding out all the new things about someone but was never one around for the long haul.

It seems pretty easy to fall in love on set, especially when you are acting like you are in love. It's easy to believe it when you are playing it 12 hours a day. Back in the 30s it wasn't normal to go on location to film a movie, so when the file Call of the Wild was filmed in Washington state, it meant a lot of cold nights and long days being together for Clark and Loretta. Needless to say, what happens next isn't a big surprise.

In fact, none of the book is a surprise but it is tantalizing and romantic. It is easy to be transported back to the 1930s and pretend you are the one observing the rise and fall of the romance between Clark and Loretta. Everyone likes a good romance even if it doesn't always have a fairy tale ending.

If you are interested in the 1930s Hollywood, then you should definitely pick up All the Stars in the Heavens. If you have an afternoon you will find yourself not wanting to put the novel down.



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