“A Touch of Stardust” by Kate Alcott. Gale Group, 2015. 304 pages, $18.75.
It’s 1939 and small-town girl Julie Crawford’s just arrived in Hollywood, looking to make it as a screenwriter.
More than a little wet behind the ears, Julie’s thrown into the exciting but bewildering world of the Hollywood studio system when she lands a job in the publicity office of legendary producer David O. Selznick as he’s mounting his passion project, “Gone with the Wind.”
The mercurial Selznick’s temper is legendary, and Julie is promptly fired after committing an on-set blunder. She’s just as quickly hired to be actress Carole Lombard’s personal assistant and quickly becomes part of her inner circle as Lombard is preparing to marry Clark Gable, who is, of course, starring as Rhett Butler in “Gone with the Wind.”
Alcott’s use of Julie’s experiences to give us a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the biggest film of its time makes for a fun and juicy read.
It’s clear Alcott did her homework on the Golden Age of Hollywood, but some of the writing is a bit stilted.
Overall, though, she paints a vivid picture of the feisty, immensely likeable Lombard and her true love, Gable.
— Louise Hilton, Baton Rouge