Happy Tuesday folks and welcome to another edition of "Review Tuesday." I'm going to split this post between a novel that I read and reviewed last year, and a podcast that I have been enjoying lately.
First, I read "Stars Over Sunset Boulevard" for the Historical Novel Society in 2016. I wrote a feature on the novel which included an interview with the author, Susan Meissner. You can read that interview here.
"Stars Over Sunset Boulevard" is a fascinating look at the filming of "Gone with the Wind" as seen through the eyes of two female secretaries living during the golden age of Hollywood. Audrey is an enigmatic aspiring actress who befriends VIolet, a recently arrived southern girl running from a broken engagement. Audrey shows Violet the ropes of living in Hollywood and the two women become fast friends. But as Audrey becomes increasingly desperate to get her break, the two friends grow apart, particularly when a key costume piece goes missing from the set, and Violet uses the situation to ignite a relationship with Burt Redmond, Audrey's oldest friend. "Stars Over Sunset Boulevard" is an interesting read though some portions seem unnecessary. Violet and Audrey easily carry the novel yet a modern day story line interrupts things. Readers may come to resent these intrusions and while everything ties together in the end, the novel may have been stronger without it. Also there are times when it seems like Audrey never has to pay for her many mistakes. She constantly comes out on top while Violet lives in fear that her comparatively few and less serious misdeeds will come to light. But all in all, the novel is a good read and is very enjoyable, and will appeal to those who love stories set during Hollywood's Golden Age.
And speaking of the Golden Age of Hollywood, I have recently become obsessed with podcasts. I know I'm late to the party, but better late than never, right? The podcast is called "You Must Remember This" and as creator Karina Longworth explains, it is a show dedicated to the "secret and/or lost history" of Hollywood's first century. I will say that this podcast is addictive so be prepared. The show has several seasons, my favorites being "MGM Stories" and "Dead Blondes". It just wrapped with a series about Jean Seburg and Jane Fonda, who led, in many cases, parallel lives. I didn't quite get into this one, but that doesn't mean that it won't appeal to some. New shows are expected this fall and I can't wait to see what the subject will be. Check out the website, where you can stream episodes and also take part in a forum, if that's your jam. There are also notes on the episodes and a film club that highlights the films mentioned on the show. The podcast is also available on iTunes.