Title: Fading Starlight by Kathryn Cushman
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Women’s Fiction
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
A Tale of Unexpected Friendship and Old Hollywood Glamour
Lauren Summers is hiding. Her fashion house internship should have launched her career, but a red carpet accident has left her blackballed. The only job she finds is unpaid, but comes with free lodging–a run-down cottage in the shadow of a cliff-side mansion. Unsure of what comes next, she’s surprised to be contacted by a reporter researching a reclusive former Hollywood ingénue who lives in the nearby mansion.
Kendall Joiner wants Lauren’s help uncovering the old woman’s secrets. In return, she’ll prove the red carpet accident was a publicity stunt so Lauren can regain her former job. With all her dreams in front of her, Lauren’s tempted by the offer, but as she and the old woman get to know each other, Lauren realizes nothing is quite as it seems.
Fading Starlight by Kathryn Cushman is a beautiful story of faith, new beginnings and unexpected friendship for lead protagonist Lauren Summers.
Lauren is an aspiring fashion designer whose career comes to screeching halt after an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction occurs with one of her creations. After landing a job as a costume designer for a school production, she moves into an exclusive neighborhood whose residents expect complete privacy and discretion from their neighbors. Next door neighbor Charlotte Montgomery is reclusive and deeply suspicious of Lauren’s random acts of kindness. Hoping the seclusion will provide her the chance to reflect on and grow in her faith, Lauren struggles not to lash out in anger when faced with Charlotte’s accusations and rejection. When Lauren is offered a deal from reporter Kendall Joiner that could restore her career, she is faced with an ethical dilemma as Joiner pressures her to betray Charlotte in exchange for the information she has uncovered.
Lauren is a rather naive young woman who is very kindhearted and caring. Knowing her incredibly public humiliation could very well be the end of her fledgling career, she is grateful for the job that will allow her to do the work she loves-creating period costumes. Although busy with new her new career, she always makes time for her daily devotions as she tries to understand God’s plan for her. Although Lauren is disappointed at Charlotte’s continued animosity towards her, she is convinced there is a reason the two women’s paths crossed at this juncture in her life. Trying to maintain a positive attitude, Lauren remains undeterred as she continues her selfless acts of kindness for her irascible neighbor.
Charlotte has not had an easy life and in an effort to shield herself from further heartache, she retreated from the public eye. Her experiences have caused her doubt everyone’s motives and she cannot fathom what Lauren hopes to achieve by her friendly overtures. Eagerly waiting for her suspicions to be proven correct, Charlotte tries to manipulate Lauren into betraying her. Confused when her plan appears to have failed, she is quite harsh and unkind when Lauren faces another setback. Yet even in the face of Charlotte’s callous treatment of her, Lauren maintains her equanimity and continues treating her with respect and kindness.
Fading Starlight has a strong religious element and Kathryn Cushman effortlessly weaves pertinent scripture into the storyline that aids Lauren on both her professional and spiritual journeys. The issues and troubles she is facing are quite relevant in today’s world and her struggles are realistic and easy to relate to. Lauren’s ethical quandary is believable and it is one that any one of us could face at some point in our lives. Readers of contemporary Christian fiction are sure to enjoy this well-written and heartwarming novel.