Posted by vp19 on 2015.02.17 at 19:34
Current mood: happy
It looks in this photo as if Carole Lombard is getting ready to address the crowd (and a radio audience) at the Atlanta premiere of “Gone With the Wind” in December 1939 — even though her involvement with the movie was being the wife of its lead actor. But she knew this was an important night, not only for her husband, Clark Gable, but for all of Hollywood, and she graciously played industry ambassador on the night this epic to end all epics was unveiled.
And speaking of unveiling, today I was among the thousands who received their pre-ordered copy of the historical novel in which Carole plays an integral role…
…”A Touch of Stardust” by Kate Alcott, released by Doubleday.
The premise is that Lombard befriends Julie Crawford, a prospective screenwriter from her hometown of Fort Wayne, Ind., and makes Julie her personal assistant late in 1938, enabling her to witness the making of “GWTW” as Gable divorces Ria Langham, finally marries Carole and they settle down as movieland’s number-one couple. Meanwhile, encouraged by the vibrant, feisty Lombard, Julie learns how to fulfill her own Hollywood dreams.
The reviews for “A Touch of Stardust” have been nearly all laudatory, from the New York Daily News:
“Kate Alcott’s story of old Hollywood and the making of “Gone With the Wind” is simply enjoyable. … Alcott’s depiction of the earthy, expletive-spewing Lombard reads just right. She was one of Hollywood’s great dames and really loved Gable.”
…to the trade publication Kirkus Reviews…
“Alcott makes good use of her research to portray the turbulent GWTW shoot, Lombard’s earthy personality and genuine love for the equally no-BS Gable, and Julie’s introduction via Andy[Weinstein, a fictional character who is Jewish and a “GWTW” assistant producer] to the more intellectual side of Hollywood culture (a Herman Mankiewicz dinner party; a meeting with her idol, pioneering screenwriter Frances Marion).”
…to the blogs “Scribbles and Wanderlust” (https://scribblesandwanderlust.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/book-review-a-touch-of-stardust-by-kate-alcott-arc/)…
“I liked how Julie interacted with Andy. (With all the characters, really, especially Carole. Those two were more than boss and assistant — they were genuine girlfriends always ready to rush over and save the day during a crisis.)
…and “A Classic Movie Blog” (http://www.aclassicmovieblog.com/2015/02/book-review-carole-lombard-lives-on-in.html):
“I approached ‘A Touch of Stardust’ with caution, because I am always wary of novels that fictionalize the lives of my movie idols. As Carole Lombard and Clark Gable are among my first silver screen loves, I felt especially on guard when I learned that they would be supporting players in this story about an aspiring screenwriter set against the backdrop of the production of ‘Gone With the Wind’ (1939). Their portrayal is plausible for the most part though, and fits nicely into this story of love and ambition in the years leading up to World War II. … The characterizations of Gable and Lombard are sympathetic and believable, and I appreciated that Alcott did not make Ms. Carole too cartoonish as has often happened in fictional portraits of the wild and crazy star.”
I’ve read the first three chapters and concur with the comments. Looking forward to reading the rest of this. Oh, and here’s a promo Doubleday has made for the book, making Carole its de facto central character: