Stars over Sunset Boulevard
by Susan Meissner
Penguin Group, 2016. 386 pgs. Fiction
New roommates Violet Mayfield and Audrey Duvall seem incredibly different, but they both struggle against disappointed hopes. With her dreams of marriage and motherhood having fallen through, Violet has escaped to Hollywood to rebuild her life. Meanwhile, beautiful Audrey is fighting to restore her career after her own deep voice and the emergence of talking pictures pulled stardom from her grasp. As secretaries on the set of Gone with the Wind, the two women discover what they’re willing to sacrifice for their ambitions.
I enjoyed Secrets of a Charmed Life, a novel of Meissner’s that came out last year, and so I had high hopes for Stars over Sunset Boulevard. It did not disappoint. I do find Meissner’s technique of placing a historical story within a modern one unnecessary, but it doesn’t detract from plot. She seems especially interested in the interplay between female relationships and ambition, and I was impressed to see the depth of Audrey and Violet’s friendship, even when their respective hopes were in direct conflict. As a fan of both the film and the book, I also loved going behind the scenes on the set of Gone with the Wind. Film buffs and fans of female-driven historical fiction are likely to enjoy this new release.