“The movies showed that dreams were as potent as reality. For a nickel, you could escape”
– Adriana Trigiani, All the Stars in the Heavens
Clark Gable, Loretta Young, Spencer Tracy, David Niven, Carole Lombard lead a magnificent cast of characters, real and imagined, in Adriana Trigiani’s new novel set in the rich landscape of 1930s’ Los Angeles. In this spectacular saga as radiant, thrilling and beguiling as Hollywood itself, Trigiani takes us back to the golden age of movie-making and into the complex and glamorous world of a young actress hungry for fame, success – and love.
With meticulous, beautiful detail, she paints a rich landscape, where European and American artisans flocked to pursue the ultimate dream: to tell stories on the silver screen.
When I first saw the cover of Adriana Trigiani’s All the Stars in the Heavens I couldn’t help but request a copy to read and review. I am always honest when it comes to my fondness for pretty covers and the irony here is my bookish vanity mirrors the vanity of the film industry. Hollywood is a world I know very little about and my point was proven last night when researching the book further I discovered that the characters in the book are based on real people! Yes, this is mildly embarrassing however knowing nothing about the real life characters doesn’t detract from the story. There is something so lovely about delving into a glamourous world that no longer exists. With a background in television, there is no surprises as to why Trigiani chose this topic to write about!
Loretta Young is introduced to the reader as a child star enchanted with the silver screen. We then see her as the darling of Hollywood’s Golden Age rubbing shoulders with the other big names of the time such as Clark Gable, Spencer Tracey and David Niven. Loretta lives with her all-female family and is very thankful when she is assigned a personal assistant. Alda Ducci is a quiet young lady who was deemed not right for convent life. She is referred to Loretta via the head nun and it is the start of a lovely working relationship and friendship. Together, they navigate the treacherous world of leading ladies and men, the sexism and the double standards of the movie making business. Loretta falls for two of her leading men and a single moment changes their lives forever. The other part of the story is learning about Alda and her past and seeing where her story leads. Alda’s moral code is pushed to its limits in Hollywood however she seeks to see the best in everyone.
I have mixed thoughts about this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the characters however the writing didn’t draw me in. Her characters are clearly well researched and beautifully described; they are passionate and colourful and really lovely. Alda is a really sweet character and the reader admires her devotion to her faith, to herself, and to those she loves. Loretta is equally as endearing. She is portrayed as an extremely hard worker, loving, family-oriented and a talented actress. Trigiani has done a wonderful job of bringing Loretta off the page. The only downside for me was Trigiani’s writing when it came to the rest of the story. She spent a little too much time setting the scene and providing background information. At times it felt quite staged which makes sense when you consider her background. While I found this frustrating at times, I still think it is a story worth reading!
AUTHOR: Adriana Trigiani
PUBLISHER: Simon and Schuster Australia
PUB DATE: January 2016
Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for sending me a reading copy in exchange for an honest review!