A Goodreads First Reads giveaway, Stars Over Sunset Boulevard, was the latest Advanced Reader Copy this pedometer geek read. This novel was written by Susan Meissner, the author of Secrets of a Charmed Life and several other novels. While this was the first of her works read, it probably won’t be the last. Here is the extended review of the novel that explores the friendship of two women during the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Stars Over Sunset Boulevard
by Susan Meissner
Published by New American Library, 2016
An imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC
Present day Los Angeles is juxtaposed against the Golden Age of Hollywood as the setting for this story of two young women, Violet Mayfield and Audrey Duvall, who become roommates and best friends during the shooting of the movie, Gone With the Wind.
The reader is introduced to the main characters when they first meet at the Selznick International Studio when Violet searches out Audrey about a possibility of renting a room. Violet has relocated to Hollywood to make a life for herself after having her heart broken back home in Alabama. Audrey is a once-rising star who wants to be discovered once again by the powers-that-be. Together, they work as secretaries at the Selznick studio during the filming of the movie.
With Violet’s Southern upbringing, and with the help of Audrey, she becomes an assistant on the movie set. She, Audrey, and Bert, one of the costumers, become inseparable friends during the filming. That is, until an iconic hat goes missing. This sets off a chain of events causing their dreams and desires to collide. Like Scarlett in the story, both of these women will do whatever it takes to achieve their dreams, achieve their desires.
Over the years their friendship will be tested time after time. Lies of omission and commission will be told, which precipitate events that could shatter their friendship forever. The author tells a mesmerizing tale of an iconic time in Hollywood, a time when stars could be made by random discovery, a time when those wishing to be stars had to live a life above reproach, and a time when hearts could be destroyed with longing.
The author gives more than a peek into the Hollywood in the thirties and then continues with the rise of television in this historical novel. She has written a complex, compelling story that runs the gamut of emotions. Her characters are such that this reader found that at times both liking and disliking them because of their actions. Like all of us, they are flawed human beings, yet their flaws also show their vulnerability.
Overall, loved this novel and recommend it highly. Not only that, but this reader is looking forward to reading other novels by this writer.
Quotes to remember:
Yet they had both chosen, despite their colliding desires, to hold on to the love between them. (p. 343)
We don’t want to live with regret. (p. 343)