Title: Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner
Genre: Historical, Women’s Fiction
Length: 386 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
In this new novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life, two women working in Hollywood during its Golden Age discover the joy and heartbreak of true friendship.
Los Angeles, Present Day. When an iconic hat worn by Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind ends up in Christine McAllister’s vintage clothing boutique by mistake, her efforts to return it to its owner take her on a journey more enchanting than any classic movie…
Los Angeles, 1938. Violet Mayfield sets out to reinvent herself in Hollywood after her dream of becoming a wife and mother falls apart, and lands a job on the film-set of Gone With the Wind. There, she meets enigmatic Audrey Duvall, a once-rising film star who is now a fellow secretary. Audrey’s zest for life and their adventures together among Hollywood’s glitterati enthrall Violet…until each woman’s deepest desires collide. What Audrey and Violet are willing to risk, for themselves and for each other, to ensure their own happy endings will shape their friendship, and their lives, far into the future.
Set against the backdrop of the Golden Age of Hollywood, Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner is a truly captivating novel that explores the bonds of friendship.
The past intertwines with the present when vintage clothes store owner Christine McAllister discovers a hat from Gone with the Wind. How did the hat end up in the attic of a bungalow that she soon realizes has unexpected ties to her childhood? The answer lies in the distant past and a long ago friendship between two women who worked together during the filming of the epic movie.
When life throws her an unexpected curve, Violet Mayfield moves from Alabama to Hollywood to work for Selznick International. Working as a secretary on the set of Gone with the Wind, she is befriended by Audrey Duvall, another secretary who still dreams of stardom. In a world where close friendships are rare, Violet and Audrey quickly become bosom buddies despite their different backgrounds and personal dreams. Their relationship becomes complicated when Violet begins to fall in love with Audrey’s close friend, Bert Redmond, a kindhearted young man who makes no secret that he would like more than friendship with Audrey.
Violet is a proper southern belle who has been groomed for marriage and motherhood. After an unexpected loss shatters her lifelong dream, she is eager to start over in a new place. She genuinely cares for Audrey but her love for Bert soon eclipses their friendship. When the opportunity to drive a wedge between Audrey and Bert presents itself, Violet impulsively makes a decision that she will eventually deeply regret in the later years of their friendship.
Years earlier, Audrey’s movie career was over before it began but she never stops hoping for another big break. She is vivacious and fun-loving, but she has endured her share of heartache. After meeting Violet, Audrey’s hopes for the future are revitalized and she renews her efforts to make it as an actress. Just as Violet achieves personal happiness, Audrey despairs her chance at stardom has passed her by but she finds surprising success in the theater. However, a failed relationship has repercussions that forever change the course of her professional life and her friendship with Violet.
An engaging and emotional novel that tugs at the heartstrings, Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner is a beautiful story of a friendship that manages to survive despite deceit, betrayal and jealousy. A fascinating and entertaining novel that I highly recommend to fans of historical women’s fiction.