Monday, January 18, 2016

Stars Over Sunset Boulevard

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!  MLK's birthday is actually January 15.  It is also Winnie the Pooh Day.  We celebrate the birthday of A.A. Milne who created Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, and friends.  Do you know what A.A. stands for?  It is Allan Alexander.  On this day in 1778 James Cook discovers the Hawaiian Island (which he called Sandwich Islands).  In 1903 the first transatlantic radio transmission (from the United States) is transmitted from Wellfleet, Massachusetts.   You can check out other events and birthday's that occurred on January 18 on Wikipedia.

Stars Over Sunset Boulevard is the latest book by Susan Meissner.  The novel starts out in 2012 with Christine McAllister discovering a beautiful green Robin Hood style hat in her latest acquisitions for her vintage clothing boutique.  There is a tag inside that reads Scarlett #13.  Could this be an actual hat from Gone with the Wind?  This hat is supposed to be at the University of Texas.  How did it get in the box of items they just acquired? 

We then join Violet Mayfield in 1938.  Violet is the newest secretary in the secretarial pool at Selznick International.  Violet heard that Audrey Duvall is looking for a roommate.  Violet is originally from Alabama, but she needed a change (she was in the right place at the right time).  Audrey wants to be an actress.  She almost got her big break when she was a teenager (before talkies), but then the movie industry changed.  Audrey’s voice is too deep many feel for the movies.  Bert Redmond works in the wardrobe department and is involved in the costumes for Gone with the Wind.  Violet is lucky enough to be picked to be the secretary to Miss Susan Myrick (technical advisor for the film).  These three have adventures around the city after they finish work (especially at parties where Audrey tries to network).  Bert likes Audrey, but Audrey is not interested in Bert (except as a friend).  Violet is interested in Bert, but she is scared to tell him her big secret.   We follow these three through the filming of Gone with the Wind and their lives following the film.  Audrey and Violet both have secrets that will continue to affect their lives for many years to come.

I am a fan of Susan Meissner, but I did not feel that Stars Over Sunset Boulevard was her best work.  It was an interesting book, and I loved the behind the scenes information on Gone with the Wind that Ms. Meissner worked into the book.  I just felt the book was lacking (hard to explain).  I think I wanted more spark, but it was more ordinary especially after they finished working on Gone with The Wind at Selznick International.  I really did not like what happened to the hat at the end of the book (it was a big disappointment).  I give Stars Over Sunset Boulevard 3.75 out of 5 stars.  The book has some good moments and some very slow parts (I skimmed through these sections).  This does not put me off Ms. Meissner’s books.  I will definitely continue to read her stories.

You can follow Susan Meissner on Amazon to get updates on her latest books.  Books by Susan Meissner that I enjoyed are A Sound Among the Trees, Lady in Waiting, and A Fall of Marigolds. I received a complimentary copy of Stars Over Sunset Boulevard from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am currently reading Earnest by Kristina Von Kreisler.  I hope you have an enjoyable day!  I am off to do housework (there is always something to clean).  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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