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The Golden Age of Hollywood

I have noticed with my reading that it tends to come in waves depending on what catches my eye. Right now, that wave is in historical fiction that took place during the Golden Age of Hollywood. During this time in Hollywood, there were five large movie studios where all the biggest movies were made such as Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz. These are some books I am looking forward to reading or have read about Hollywood.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo - Taylor Jenkins Reid - I am not going to lie - I love this story, I love Evelyn, and I love how she is unapologetically herself. Evelyn Hugo is a Hollywood star who has led a reclusive life since retiring from the limelight. Now, she has chosen a small, unknown journalist named Monique Grant to write her biography. As Evelyn retells her story, Monique comes to understand why Evelyn was a massive star and why she chose herself over fame.

The Girls in the Picture - Melanie Benjamin - The story of the friendship between Frances Marion and Mary Pickford and how they became two of Hollywood's earliest stars. As a writer desperate for her break in Hollywood, Frances Marion, meets "America's Sweetheart", Mary Pickford. As each woman's star continues to rise, Frances as a screenwriter and Mary as a starlet, they have shared success in personal collaboration.

Delayed Rays of a Star - Amanda Lee Koe - The unexpected gathering of three Hollywood starlets in one photo is the character base of this novel. Marlene Dietrich, an up-and-coming actress who will become an icon, Leni Riefenstahl, a German film director who would become known more for her Nazi propaganda than for her movies, and Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American movie star. The stories are told through secondary characters and how each woman's legacy was a large part of their life.

Stars Over Sunset Boulevard - Susan Meissner - Told in historical fiction dual timeline format, this story takes place in Los Angeles years apart. In 1938, Violet Mayfield attempts to reinvent herself in Hollywood when her dream of a husband and children falls apart. She ends up a secretary on the set of Gone With the Wind. There, she meets another secretary and together they form a tight friendship that forever changes their lives. Meanwhile, in 2012 a hat ends up in a vintage clothing store and Christine McAllister attempts to return it to its rightful owner and the journey it takes her on is better than any movie.

A Touch of Stardust - Kate Alcott - Julie Crawford leaves Indiana for the Hollywood Hills where she befriends Carole Lombard, a Hollywood starlet from her hometown. Although she has dreams of being a screenwriter, she ends up working in the studio's publicity office. When Lombard hires Crawford as her personal assistant, she is brought into the Hollywood that she imagined. The two women develop a deep friendship and Julie must learn to see Hollywood for what it is and not allow herself to be drawn into to the theatrics.

All the Stars in Heaven - Adriana Trigiani - Loretta Young is a young struggling starlet hoping to become a star. When she meets Clark Gable, despite knowing that he is married, they begin a relationship. Alda Ducci is forced to leave her convent and becomes Loretta's assistant and becomes her most trusted confidant. When they are both faced with an insurmountable obstacle their friendship and loyalty to each other are tested and their lives are forever changed.

Platinum Doll - Anne Girard - A historical fiction about Jean Harlow, a true Hollywood legend. Harlean Carpenter McGrew runs away from her Midwest home to become a Hollywood starlet. She takes a challenge that will make all her dreams come true. With cameos by other stars of the day, Laurel and Hardy, Clara Bow, and Howard Hughes, this story shows just how much Harlow was willing to give up in order to reach her dreams.

Finding Dorothy - Elizabeth Letts - The Wizard of Oz sprang from the imagination of Frank L Baum, an author from the Midwest. This story takes place as the movie version of this story was being cast and Baum's widow, Maud Gage Baum, meets Judy Garland for the first time. There is an instant connection despite the age gap and Maud knows that Judy is the only person who could bring Dorothy to life. While Maud reflects on her own life, we see the similarities between her upbringing and Dorothy's story. Throughout the story, we also learn the abuses Judy Garland endured to become the star she was.

The Blue Butterfly - Leslie Johansen Nack - The reimagining of the life of Marion Davies and her success in Hollywood. She meets the love of her life, William Randolph Hearst, while on a Broadway stage and he believes he can make her a star. She adjusts to being Hearsts' mistress when it becomes clear that he will not divorce his wife. During the course of their relationship, a baby girl is born that both people must disavow for their sake and hers. Davies relishes in the Hollywood scene until the movie comes along that will make or break her career…Citizen Kane.

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