Friday, November 6, 2015

All the Stars in the Heavens - Adriana Trigiani

All the Stars in the Heavens
This week, I'm partnering with TLC Book Tours to bring you a new book every day! They span a wide range of genre, so make sure to check back each day for a new review; you're bound to find something you'll enjoy.

Title: All the Stars in the Heavens
Author: Adriana Trigiani
Publication Date: 10/13/15
Pages: 464
Genre: Historical / RomanceFiction
How I Found It: TLC Book Tours
Date Completed: 10/25/15

Summary: In the Golden Age of Hollywood, "luster, drama, power, and secrets...thrive in the studio system." Trigiani takes real stars from the era and adds to and invents the details of their lives. She paints Loretta Young and Clark Gable as star-crossed lovers and supports them with a colorful cast of family and friends.

What I Thought: As someone who spends admittedly too much time reading celebrity gossip, it's easy to see why this book appealed to me. Hollywood stories of love and scandal are abundant, yet I know little about the stars of Hollywood's early days. When I started the book, I did not realize that Trigiani had used real personalities upon which to base her novel. That aspect certainly made the book more intriguing and, in a way, reminded me a little of how Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan fictionalized the love story of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their recent novel, The Royal We. That book has easily been one of my favorites this year, so I had high hopes for Trigiani's work as well.

Adriana Trigiani
The author captures the glamour and pitfalls of the early film industry well. In conception, it's delightful. The tone and storyline reminded me of the runaway summer hit from 2013, Beautiful Ruins. The book is frothy and fun, even while tackling tough relationships between characters and the harsh realities of their careers.

I made it through nearly a third of the book before I realized Trigiani had not only utilized real Hollywood stars as her main romantic heroes, but she had loosely based her story on a real relationship between Loretta Young and Clark Gable. I say loosely because a quick Google search shows that the child born out of wedlock to the pair (a potentially career-ending scandal in those days, particularly since Gable was married to someone else) may have been conceived in even less ideal circumstances. Late in life, Young learned the modern term "date rape" and insisted to a relative that was what had happened between her and Gable. Those allegations are a far cry from the star-crossed lovers in Trigiani's book. Trigiani makes Young and Gable out to be deeply in love, though they can never quite find the path to be together. If Young's real-life statements about the events of those years are true, however, then the relationship is certainly nothing to be celebrated, idealized, or memorialized. 

If you can suspend reality and think of Trigiani's movie stars as entirely fictionalized characters (she does have a disclaimer at the start of the book that the novel is merely her imaginative perspective on a framework of fact), then the book could be delightful. The characters, despite remaining mostly stagnant in their development, are bright lights and big personalities. It's easy to see them as magnetic box-office hits. They have an appeal, both historically and fictionally, that cannot be denied. Trigiani has seen and understood the extraordinary people who built the foundation for the movie and celebrity industry of today. I just wish she had been more willing to look deeper into the potential dark sides of their history as well. 

*To read other bloggers' thoughts on All the Stars in the Heavens, check out the full tour schedule.*

Quote I Loved: In light of our current presidential candidates, this quote stood out to me: "'Beware the clowns.' The leaders who start out as jokes - people make fun of them, they're caricatures, cartoons in newspapers, and people decide they are harmless. Those men are the most dangerous. The day comes when they use their power against their own people." 

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: Unlikely
If You Liked This Try: Beautiful Ruins / The Day of the Locust / American Wife

A Reduced Review: The glamour and luxury of Old Hollywood is easy to enjoy, though the clash of fiction and historical fact made this novel harder for me to stomach.

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