Stars Over Sunset Boulevard
by Susan Meissner
I love old Hollywood. The days of Clark Gable, Bogart and Bacall and Audrey Hepburn. In college, I spent hours watching Turner Classic Movies. I still lament the fact that there are few actors that pose a triple threat. I dream in Technicolor. When I came across Stars Over Sunset Boulevard on NetGalley, I was delighted by the the idea of following two women during Hollywood’s Golden Age during the filming of one of my favorite movies, Gone With the Wind.
Unfortunately, Stars Over Sunset Boulevard delivered a disappointing rehash of a standard love triangle that left me feeling underwhelmed.
One of my favorite devices in historical fiction novels is inter-chapters that connect the past to the present. In Stars Over Sunset Boulevard we are introduced to the famous green hat worn by Vivian Leigh in Gone with the Wind. The hat was introduced fairly early in the story. Then it was lost and everyone seemed to forget about it despite it being a key prop piece. The characters in the present time chapters that discovered the hat again had little personal or emotional connection to the characters in the past. As a result, I had cared little about them. When this plot device is used, I need to care as much about the characters in the past as the ones in the present.
Our main characters, Violet and Audrey, were cookie cutter paper dolls. I didn’t buy their friendship and I definitely didn’t buy their love and affection for Bert. If either of them cared so much about him, why was he always in the background? I never got to know enough about him besides the fact he “was a nice guy.” And nice guys, without some more description and explanation, fall flat with me. If this was suppose to be a love triangle, there needed to be more tension between Violet, Audrey and Bert.
The best thing about the book? Old Hollywood. Meissner painted it exactly the way I imagine old Hollywood to be. I was absolutely giddy when reading the descriptions of the filming of the burning of Atlanta and the massive casualty scene in the town square. I loved the details, many of which I knew, about the filming.
Of course, the Golden Age of Hollywood did not last forever and because the characters fell flat for me, in the end I did not enjoy Stars Over Sunset Boulevard. There needed to be more character development for the relationships to be believable and a better connection between the object and person(s) causing the strife. As it stands, the story is a predictable romance peppered with memories of a time gone by.
The Quick Book Review
Stars Over Sunset BoulevardAuthor: Susan Meissner
Published on: January 5, 2016
Genres: adult, romance, historical fiction
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My Rating: two-stars
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.