Book corner: we review All the Stars in the Heavens
Delve behind the scenes of the Golden Age of Hollywood in this fun paperback.
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“Trigiani is a master of palpable and visual detail.” — Washington Post
What’s the story?
It is wonderful to ‘meet’ so many stars of the magic days of 1930’s Hollywood in All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani.
Adriana is an American award winning playwright, television writer, documentary filmmaker and author. In this novel we’re given a glimpse behind the scenes at the making of films and of the lives of those working in this exciting field.
“Trigiani re-creates the golden age of Hollywood with the same rich, sumptuous detail that distinguished The Shoemaker’s Wife. Her ability to breathe life into the luminous cast of characters will captivate readers. A tinsel-trimmed treat.” — Library Journal
The heroine is Gretchen Belzer, one of four daughters of Gladys Belzer, devout Roman Catholic, single mother, interior designer and business woman extraordinaire. Gretchen, a child actor since the age of four, was reinvented and became famous as the talented actress Loretta Young.
The book gives us a look at the Hollywood of old and it was fascinating to note the different standards required for the sexes. A famous actress was to be chaste and always an object of desire yet it seemed acceptable, even desirable for the leading man to have a succession of wives (and many lovers).
Loretta Young had two fears, the fear of failure and the fear of dismissal. An unwanted pregnancy would have meant instant dismissal. The intrigue and the involvement of others and travel to Italy to hide her pregnancy is fascinating.
To complicate things even more Loretta was dyslexic and had to work so hard to read, understand and learn her lines.
“Delightful, energetic. . . Trigiani is a seemingly effortless storyteller.” — Boston Globe
We also meet Alda Ducci, a young Italian woman ‘released’ from her Italian convent where she’d been a novice for nearly six years, working in their refuge for unmarried mothers. When the local priest heard that Loretta Young was looking for a secretary it was decided to suggest Alda for the job. Loretta and Alda became friends immediately and theirs was tobe a lifelong friendship.
Alda had secrets of her own, but adjusted well to her new job and her new strange environment. She was Loretta’ s rock for life. Alda is a wondrous character.
“Trigiani spins a tale of star-crossed lovers. . . A heartwarming tale of women’s lives behind the movies.” — Kirkus Reviews
Big Stone Gap stars Ashley Judd, Patrick Wilson, Whoopi Goldberg, John Benjamin Hickey, Jane Krakowski, Anthony LaPaglia, and Jenna Elfman
Why read it?
I enjoyed ‘getting to know’ Spencer Tracy, David Niven, Carole Lombard, Myrna Loy, the dashing Clark Gable and of course Loretta Young.
“If you’re meeting her work for the first time, get ready for a lifelong love affair.” — Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help
Pat’s final verdict: If you’d enjoy being in the historical landscape of 1930’s Los Angeles and Hollywood with its love affairs and its intrigue, this riveting read is for you.
“The author’s impeccable research and lush writing style recreates a plausible day-to-day look into the actress’s life as a staunch Catholic living and working in Hollywood. . . Eminently readable and richly imagined, Trigiani’s latest will thrill her fans and surely collect new ones.” — Publishers Weekly
About the author
Adriana Trigiani is beloved by millions of readers around the world for her bestselling novels, including her latest, All the Stars in the Heavens, the instant New York Times bestseller. She wrote the blockbuster The Shoemaker’s Wife, the Big Stone Gap series, the Valentine trilogy and Lucia, Lucia. Trigiani’s themes of love and work, emphasis upon craftsmanship and family life have brought her legions of fans who call themselves Adri-addicts (a term coined by book maven Robin Kall). Their devotion has made Adriana one of “the reigning queens of women’ s fiction” - USA Today. The New York Times calls her “a comedy writer with a heart of gold”, her books “tiramisu for the soul.” Her books have been translated in 36 countries around the world. Adriana has toured many of the countries, including South Africa, with annual visits to the United Kingdom.
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