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A Touch of Stardust: A Novel Hardcover – February 17, 2015
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“Kate Alcott effortlessly evokes the shimmering world of vintage Hollywood as she drops a plucky young woman from Indiana into the tumultuous set of Gone With the Wind and a legendary silver screen romance, against the backdrop of the gathering storm in Europe. If you’ve ever longed to be a fly on the wall as Clark Gable loses his heart to the effervescent Carole Lombard, or watch Vivien Leigh gather herself together for her greatest scene, you’ll devour this book as hungrily as I did.”
— Beatriz Williams, New York Times bestselling author of A Hundred Summers
“Sparkling with the magic of classic moviemaking and set against the fiery drama of Hollywood's Gone With the Wind filming, Alcott weaves fact and fiction so that readers cheer for the story to be reality— a place where we all might find... a touch of stardust. “
— Sarah McCoy, New York Times bestselling author of The Baker's Daughter
"If you could time-travel to anywhere in the golden age of Hollywood, it would be hard to imagine a place more exciting than the set of “Gone with the Wind”—which is just where Alcott sets much of her new novel….Lombard is portrayed as delightfully as any character she played in the movies…Alcott infuses her breathtaking novel with the sort of glamour found only on the big screen—and a host of frailties that are all too human.”
-- New York Times Book Review
"Julie, and the happy reader, [have] a ringside seat to Lombard's affair with Clark Gable, aka Rhett Butler... Our fictional heroine shows pluck as she tries to crack the male screenwriters' room, but it's the funny, ribald, likable (and doomed) Lombard who shines brightest here, throwing off more than a touch of stardust."
-- USA Today
“[An] enticing peek behind the scenes of Gone With the Wind…. The portraits of studio heavy-hitters like Clark Gable's paramour, Carole Lombard, who takes on Julie as her personal assistant, are generous and appealing for their intimacy and humanity…. Alcott's ease with Thirties lingo and her intimate knowledge of the Old Hollywood gossip mill grounds the story's frothier elements…. Likewise, Alcott's acknowledgment of the era's less sparkling elements – the regular humiliations endured by black actors, Gable's homophobic discomfort with director George Cukor, the anti-Semitism underlying many Americans' disinterest in engaging in a war with Hitler – elevates the novel above pure fantasia….. gets just close enough to the glamour to make you feel extravagant and put a twinkle in your eye.”
-- The Austin Chronicle
“This lively read with its cinematic scenes cry out for blockbuster movie treatment.... There’s more than a touch of stardust here. It’s liberally sprinkled on every page.”
-- Toronto Star
"...If you are a real film buff and true book lover, chances are you will not forget the irresistible new novel A Touch of Stardust...This is a daring act of literary imagination...And in Alcott's hands, the make-believe Lombard feels like an ahead of her times, flesh-and-blood human being who is as interesting as any character she portrayed on the silver screen.
Kate Alcott’s story of old Hollywood and the making of “Gone With the Wind” is simply enjoyable...Alcott’s depiction of the earthy, expletive-spewing Lombard reads just right.
-- New York Daily News
“A coming of age story mixed with old Hollywood fun.... An utter delight! Readers get to go back in time to old Hollywood and not only witness a game-changing movie being made, but get to know the actors and actresses of the movie..... A treat to read. Alcott has given readers a unique novel in historical fiction. You'll find yourself wanting to watch "Gone With the Wind" again simply because of this grand novel!”
— The Examiner
"Alcott makes good use of her research to portray the turbulent Gone With the Wind shoot, Lombard's earthy personality and genuine love for the equally no-BS Gable… Julie and Andy's tender but bumpy affair is also nicely depicted…Alcott's canny blend of Hollywood lore and a strong personal story is ultimately effective. Well-crafted commercial fiction displaying intelligence and nuance as Julie ponders Hollywood's dizzying fantasy/reality disconnect."
— Kirkus Review
“Alcott should entrance large audiences with her stellar historical novel…nuanced and substantive… The briskly paced narrative captivates as it lets readers view the creation of silver-screen magic, and it’s also a terrific tribute to the industry pioneers.”
"Readers of Nancy Horan's Loving Frank and other biographical fiction will love this well-written, thoroughly researched look at Hollywood's glamorous and not-so-glamorous past."
— Library Journal starred review
About the Author
KATE ALCOTT is the pseudonym for journalist Patricia O’Brien, who has written several books, both fiction and nonfiction. As Kate Alcott, she is the New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker and The Daring Ladies of Lowell. She lives in Washington, D.C. The many stories shared by her late husband, Frank Mankiewicz, who grew up in a legendary film family, helped her bring Old Hollywood to life.
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Top customer reviews
At one point I forgot the girl's name.
However I still enjoyed the book. Julie is working as an assistant to Lombard on the lot while Gone with the Wind is filming. She doesn't do much for Lombard so much as watch filming (which is what I would do to). She wants to be a screenwriter at a time when there are not many female screenwriters (which could also apply today) and the country is on the verge of World War 2- though no one wants to think about it. Despite Julie falling flat like I said if your a fan of this time period (I am) you'll probably enjoy the book and the behind the scenes look at the filming.
I do think the author did a great job of capturing some of the bigger stuff as well- like the première and the announcement of England's entry into the war. So if we're just looking through Julie's eyes I guess she works. If I'm supposed to remember her name... she could have used a lot more flavor.
Moreover, the female lead Julie Crawford just wasn't engaging enough to offset the GWTW-lore dumps. It felt as if Julie was in the way, blocking greater insight to the far more interesting Carole Lombard, David O. Selznick, etc.
On the positive side, I did get a sense of the author's love and passion for the film and for Hollywood, particularly in the Epilogue and Author's Note at the end.