2016 Reading Challenges | Book Reviews | Reading

The Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner Shines

The Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner Shines

I received this book for free from Publisher for review consideration, opinions expressed are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.

Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner
Published by NAL
Publication Date: Jan. 5, 2016
Genres: Drama, Fiction, Historical
Setting: USA - California
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Your Favorite Indie Bookstore* | Barnes & Noble* | Amazon Kindle* | Amazon Paperback*
Goodreads
four-stars

Stars Over Sunset Boulevard is an intense and beautiful story about friendship, love and those dreams we long for. I highly recommend this book for fans of classic movies and want to get behind the scenes in 1930’s Hollywood.

Synopsis:

 

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 the reader on a journey to the past.

It’s 1938 and Violet Mayfield sets out to reinvent herself in Los Angeles after her dream of becoming a wife and mother falls apart, landing 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.”

 

My Thoughts:

 

The reader’s journey in Stars Over Sunset Boulevard is a look at what we are willing to do or become to hold onto what we can’t imagine living without,” author Susan Meissner told us in an interview in April. What can’t you live without? What are you willing to do to to protect it? Susan takes us on quite a journey as she explores the relationship between two young ladies, seemingly from two different worlds who are more alike than they realize.  

 

Violet is a naive Southern girl trying to escape to Hollywood from the heartbreak of her past. When her dreams of being a wife and mother are shattered, Violet is a lost soul searching for a path to take. She has no idea what she wants to do or if her dreams will come true. In contrast, Audrey is a stylish seasoned veteran of the studio life and at 30 years old is still waiting for her big break. She knows precisely what she wants and more importantly, how she will become a coveted star. She will not resort to the usual antics of desperate young actresses. Much like The Odd Couple TV show, these roommates are an unlikely pair but Meissner develops their friendship beautifully. The ladies learn from each other and come to realize what their dreams are and how they want to achieve them. 

 

But their friendship is not all roses and rainbows. Chasing their dreams may just break up their friendship and destroy the lives they worked so hard to create. How will Hollywood change sweet, charming Violet? Is it too late for Audrey to achieve the dreams she’s longed for? Will either of them be able to reconcile with the past that haunts them? What or who will come between them? 

 

This is the first book I’ve read by Susan Meissner and I found her writing lovely, effortless and enjoyable. She created characters that were at times, complex and unpredictable. While I was never a fan of Gone With the Wind (I fell asleep watching it when I was younger) and really had no desire to read the book, Stars Over Sunset Boulevard transported me onto the set of this iconic film and made me want to both read the book and see the movie. I found particularly interesting the meticulous attention the directors paid to accurately portraying the novel. These days, it seems so much creative license is given to directors that fans of the book never quite know if the movie will live up to the book. It’s inspiring to see how Gone with the Wind made such a  revolutionary impact on the film industry. 

 

Stars Over Sunset Boulevard is an intense and beautiful story about friendship, love and those dreams we long for. I highly recommend this book for fans of classic movies and want to get behind the scenes in 1930’s Hollywood.

 

Setting & Challenges Satisfied:

 

1930’s Hollywood, California

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

 

 

Other Books Like This You Might Enjoy:

 

No Ordinary Life by Suzanne Redfearn (3*, behind the scenes, contemporary Hollywood, life of a child actor)

Scared Scriptless by Alison Sweeney* (3*, behind the scenes, contemporary Hollywood, written by Days of Our Lives star and The Biggest Loser host Alison Sweeney)

Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner (5*, historical fiction of the life of fashion legened Coco Chanel)

Marlene by C.W. Gortner* (historical fiction, film star Marlene Dietrich)

Jean Harlow in the Platinum Doll by Anne Girard (author guest post about why she wrote about Jean Harlow)

 

What books have you read about the film industry? Share with me, you know I love to hear what you are reading! 

 

About Susan Meissner

Susan Meissner is a multi-published author, speaker and writing workshop leader with a background in community journalism. Her novels include A Fall of Marigolds, named by Booklist’s Top Ten women’s fiction titles for 2014, and The Shape of Mercy, named by Publishers Weekly as one of the 100 Best Novels of 2008. She is also a RITA finalist, and Christy Award winner.

A California native, she attended Point Loma Nazarene University. Susan is a pastor’s wife and a mother of four young adults. When she’s not working on a novel, she writes small group curriculum for her San Diego church. She is also a writing workshop volunteer for Words Alive, a San Diego non-profit dedicated to helping at-risk youth foster a love for reading and writing.

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2 Comments

  1. I’ve been curious about this one! I’ll have to keep an eye out at the library. There is something so romantic about reading in this time period.

  2. The Stars Over Sunset Boulevard sounds good. I remember watching Gone With The Wind for the first time, I loved it. I’ve been trying to get my husband to watch it with me for years. I wonder if I’ll still feel the same as I did all those years ago.
    XO

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