A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott (♦♦♦♦)

It’s 1939.

Julie Crawford, a recent graduate of Smith College and native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, has arrived at Selznick International Pictures to work as an office assistant. Through a few turns of luck she becomes the personal assistant to Carole Lombard, the bubbly actress rumored to be romantically attached to Clark Gable.

Gable has been contracted to interpret the dashing Rhett Butler in the production of Gone with the Wind. Lombard has been brought along to help him cope with the nightmare that the filming has become.

David O. Selznick has a very clear picture of what he wants to see as the final product. He doesn’t tolerate deviations from his vision or dissension. He will fight Louis B. Mayer, the head of MGM and his in-law; he will fire George Cukor (the first director) and bring along Victor Fleming (fresh from filming of The Wizard of Oz); he will hire an army of screenwriters and reject every screenplay if necessary but the result will be nothing short of perfection.

All along, Julie will learn to navigate the treacherous waters of Hollywood and become Carole’s good friend. And she will realize her dreams and become the woman she ever thought of becoming.

A Touch of Stardust is a fascinating and meticulous account of the filming of Gone with the Wind. It is an ode to the movies and the magic of movie making, to the glamour and decadence of an age gone by, to the movie stars who were part of it, and to the making of movie history.

Alcott takes us on a tour backstage to show us the technical aspects of movie making: the writing of a script (and its likely dissection), the building (and burning) of a set, the direction and production stages, and the battle of egos from all the big personalities involved.

Within the pages of A Touch of Stardust real life personalities such as Carole Lombard (actress), David O. Selznick (producer), Vivien Leigh (Scarlett O’Hara), Clark Gable (Rhett Butler), and Frances Marion (screenwriter) come alive. After reading this novel it’ll be hard to think about the whole creative process of movie making the same way again.

DISCLAIMER: I received from the publisher a free egalley of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Comments

  1. When I started reading your review, I thought this was a history, but I see it is historical fiction instead - one of my favorite genres. It certainly sounds very true to life. Must have been a fascinating read.

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    1. It was delightful and fascinating, Dorothy. Bubbly story with just the right touch of reality.

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  2. Sounds like a fun read. Usually I like behind the scenes stories but I am not sure if I want my illusions about movies changed. Do you think yours did?

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    1. It was rather like a nice complement to the movie, Judy. Like a making of documentary but it gives perspective of all the problems it took to finish the movie.
      The book is as fascinating as the movie, so no lost magic there, plus it is more like the infatuation of a newcomer with the industry, and all us outsiders can relate to that.

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  3. I thought this was a fun and glamorous book! My review will go up this week.

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    1. I thought so too! I'm looking forward to your review, Sarah.

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  4. I have been seeing this book on so many blogs. It looks quite good.

    Thanks for this terrific post.

    Stopping by from Carole's Books You Loved March Edition. I am in the list as #10.

    My book entry is below. A Memory of Violets is going to be a favorite for this year.

    Elizabeth
    Silver's Reviews
    My Book Entry

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    1. This book is lovely, Elizabeth. A great companion to the movie Gone with the Wind.
      Thanks for visiting.

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  5. Oooooo......I LOVED Gone With The Wind.

    Thanks for peaking my interest even more.

    Elizabeth

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