Release Date - October 14, 2015
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 464 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**
**SPOILERS BASED ON REAL LIFE EVENTS**
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Adriana Trigiani, the New York Times bestselling author of the blockbuster epic The Shoemaker’s Wife, returns with her biggest and boldest novel yet—a hypnotic tale, based on a true story—that dazzles with the signature elements of her previous work—family ties, artistry, romance, adventure—and introduces an unforgettable new heroine: Loretta Young, an ambitious starlet struggling to survive in Hollywood’s dream factoryThe 'golden age' of Hollywood has always fascinated me. There was something glamorous about this era that sets it on a pedestal all it's own. The gossip that was made all the more scandalous because it was hidden, the larger than life personalities and the understated sophistication all ensured that it's pull on people never really left. Adriana Trigiani weaves a story not only of love, but of life, family, and friendships in this wonderfully crafted story that transports you to classic Hollywood.
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 assistant, 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.
This novel reads as incredibly authentic. At times you'll forget you're reading something that is a fictional account of real events. It reads like a long lost diary that lets you get a behind the scenes look at this particular time in Hollywood. The characters, the setting, the emotions all combine to create this feeling of overwhelming truth. It is a testament to the research the author must have done, and her talent to bring it all together in a compelling way. It also ensures that you'll be Googling the characters, events, and details as you read because you'll instantly want to know more about all of them.
Sometimes love stories just are not meant to be, no matter how promising the connection. You can love someone fiercely and the timing can never be right. Loretta and Clark have such a connection. Their whirlwind romance is plagued throughout the years by indecision, fear, and nagging self doubt. Each allows their own issues to prevent them from ever really getting together. Clark's wandering eye concerned Loretta, as did the consequences of what would happen if they went public. Clark didn't feel he was ready to commit, and kept making promises he couldn't keep. They each took their turn at pushing the other away. For all the flaws in the relationship, there is no denying the spark that ignites the pages when they are together. We see the proof of their connection over and over again. Neither of them really gets over the other and that love is there right until the very end, even if they are no longer in love with each other. It's a romance of regrets and wistfulness and one that belongs only on the cold, snowy, mountain top where it began.
This novel offers in depth, but unsurprising, look at the politics in play at this time in Hollywood. The treat of women and how they were viewed. Loretta realizes that she is dispensable compared to Clark Gable for many reasons and that she would be the one judged for the affair and pregnancy. This, unfortunately, still holds truth today. Women are often judged more harshly for their actions than men are. Adriana Trigiani shows how different, and how much the same, Hollywood is when compared with today and it is entirely fascinating.I found myself getting angry at the characters for their decisions, but realized that they did not have the same choices that would be there today.
There is a bittersweetness to this story, particularly towards the end, as the story spans years and decades. We see how overarching feelings are, and the ache of regret when it's too late. This novel will make you wistful and eager to hold a movie marathon of all the great classics. It reminded me why Hollywood holds such an allure and why it ignites such fascination.
While this perhaps isn't the love story you would expect, there is one here nonetheless. It's the love between friends, between family, and even at times, between lovers. This is the story of those people who come into our lives and make a deep, lasting impression, and how over the years those are the things (and people) that will matter the most. Fans of golden age Hollywood, scandals, and imperfect happily ever afters should not miss this one.