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Cover image for A touch of stardust
A touch of stardust
Large print edition.
Waterville, ME : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning, 2015.
Physical Description:
471 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.
When Julie Crawford leaves Fort Wayne, Indiana for Hollywood, she never imagines she'll cross paths with Carole Lombard, the dazzling actress from Julie's provincial Midwestern hometown. Although the young woman has dreams of becoming a screenwriter, the only job Julie's able to find is one in the studio publicity office of the notoriously demanding producer David O. Selznick -- who is busy burning through directors, writers and money as he begins filming Gone with the Wind. Although tensions run high on the set, Julie finds she can step onto the back lot, take in the smell of smoky gunpowder and the soft rustle of hoop skirts, and feel the magical world of Gone with the Wind come to life. Julie's access to real-life magic comes when Carole Lombard hires her as an assistant and invites her into the glamorous world Carole shares with Clark Gable -- who is about to move into movie history as the dashing Rhett Butler. Lombard, happily profane and uninhibited, makes no secret of her relationship with Gable, which poses something of a problem for the studio as Gable is technically still married -- and the last thing the film needs is more negative publicity. Julie is there to fend off the overly curious reporters, hoping to prevent details about the affair from slipping out. But she can barely keep up with her blonde employer, let alone control what comes out of Carole's mouth, and -- as their friendship grows -- soon finds she doesn't want to. Carole, both wise and funny, becomes Julie's model for breaking free of the past. Julie is given a front-row seat to not one but two of the greatest love affairs of all time: the undeniable on-screen chemistry between Scarlett and Rhett, and off screen, the deepening love between Carole and Clark. Yet beneath the shiny façade, things in Hollywood are never quite what they seem, and Julie must learn to balance career aspirations and her own budding romance with outsized personalities and the overheated drama on set.


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A New York Times Bestselling Author Julie Crawford leaves Fort Wayne, Indiana, for Hollywood with dreams of becoming a screenwriter, and lands a job in the publicity office of notoriously demanding producer David O. Selznick. On the set of Gone with the Wind, she has a front-row seat to two of the greatest love affairs of all time: the onscreen chemistry between Scarlett and Rhett, and the deepening lovebetween Carole and Clark. Yet things in Hollywood are never quite what they seem.

Reviews 4

Kirkus Review

Sticking to her formula of situating imaginary characters in historical events (The Daring Ladies of Lowell, 2014, etc.), Alcott sends her feisty heroine to observe the filming of Gone With the Wind.At first, it looks as though Julie Crawford will be packing her bags to go back to Fort Wayne, Indiana; she's delayed as she hurries to the burning of Atlanta to deliver a message from the studio to David Selznick, and the producer fires her on the spot. Fortunately, Julie has caught the eye of assistant producer Andy Weinstein, who introduces her to a fellow Fort Wayne refugee: screwball comedy queen Carole Lombard, whose open affair with still-married GWTW star Clark Gable is making Selznick very nervous. Soon Julie is Lombard's personal assistant and having regular dinners with handsome, intense Andy. The fact that she's dating a Jew, Julie is well-aware, would appall her parents, who are already unhappy that she's dumped her high school sweetheart to pursue a career as a screenwriter. 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 to the more intellectual side of Hollywood culture (a Herman Mankiewicz dinner party; a meeting with her idol, pioneering screenwriter Frances Marion). Julie and Andy's tender but bumpy affair is also nicely depicted. Consumed with anxiety for his grandparents in Nazi Berlin, furious when he confronts anti-Semitism in America, he plans to leave Hollywood's dream factory; he's supportive of Julie's ambitions but unsure that she's got the backbone to stand by him or to stand up to her parents about their relationship. Their ups and downs are slightly contrived, but Alcott's canny blend of Hollywood lore and a strong personal story is ultimately effective. Well-crafted commercial fiction displaying intelligence and nuance as Julie ponders Hollywood's dizzying fantasy/reality disconnect. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Alcott should entrance large audiences with her stellar historical novel, which follows fictional Indiana native Julie Crawford after she moves to Los Angeles in 1938 to become a screenwriter. Readers expecting a rehash of a familiar plotline, however that of a young hopeful becoming disillusioned by the emptiness beneath Hollywood's glitzy veneer will find something more nuanced and substantive. Working as an assistant to exuberant blonde actress Carole Lombard, who hails from her hometown, Julie gets pulled into the activity surrounding the filming of Gone with the Wind, costarring Clark Gable, the still-married man Carole loves (and vice versa). On and off the set, considerable drama unfolds; all the actors and crew are subjected to the single-minded vision of its controlling producer, David Selznick. Both Carole and diminutive brunette Vivien Leigh light up the page in their scenes, and Julie's story line holds its own alongside theirs. As she sheds her midwestern naïveté and works hard on a screenplay in her free time, her romance with a Jewish assistant producer draws in themes of prejudice and hypocrisy. The briskly paced narrative captivates as it lets readers view the creation of silver-screen magic, and it's also a terrific tribute to the industry pioneers, like screenwriter Frances Marion, who helped others jump-start their dreams. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Prepub buzz about this book has been focused on how entertaining readers will find it; expect many requests.--Johnson, Sarah Copyright 2014 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

If you could time-travel to anywhere in the golden age of Hollywood, it would be hard to imagine a place more exciting than the set of "Gone With the Wind" - which is just where Alcott sets much of her new novel. It's 1938, and Julie Crawford has come from Fort Wayne, Ind., not to be the next Greta Garbo but the next Frances Marion, then the top female screenwriter, responsible for films like "The Champ" and "The Big House." Julie gets a job as an assistant in the public relations department of David O. Selznick's company and, in what could become an inauspicious start to her career, delivers a message to the man himself while Atlanta is burning - except she was supposed to deliver it before Atlanta burned. Promptly booted by Selznick, she's saved by Andy Weinstein, a handsome assistant producer. This reprieve lands her a new job working for Carole Lombard, who's keeping company with the film's leading man, Clark Gable. Lombard is portrayed as delightfully as any character she played in the movies. And since she also hails from Fort Wayne and knows of Julie's family, she quickly takes a shine to her. As does Andy. But their romance is not without its problems. Andy is Jewish, not something Julie's parents would approve of. And he's got problems of his own. Increasingly frantic about the fate of his grandparents, who live in Nazi Germany, he's also uncertain about whether he wants to stay in the movie business. Alcott infuses her breathtaking novel with the sort of glamour found only on the big screen - and a host of frailties that are all too human. JULIE KLAM'S most recent book is "Friendkeeping: A Field Guide to the People You Love, Hate, and Can't Live Without."

Library Journal Review

Alcott (The Dressmaker) brings to life the glitter and glamour of old Hollywood in this exciting and eye-opening work. Indiana native Julie Crawford flees the Midwest and heads to the bright lights of Hollywood. She finds a minor job on the set of Gone with the Wind (GWTW) but quickly moves up the ranks when Carole Lombard (a fellow Hoosier) takes her under her wing. Carole, a gorgeous, uninhabited, scandalous actress, helps Julie acclimate to the dog-eat-dog world of filmmaking. With Carole's encouragement, Julie pursues her dream of becoming a screenwriter and learns to let go of the past. With the set of GWTW as their playground, the two Hoosier pals learn that they have more in common than either ever thought possible. The audiobook is narrated beautifully by Cassandra Campbell, who skillfully brings an array of characters to life. Filled with interesting Tinseltown facts, romance, and humor, this tale will delight listeners and entice them to pick up some classic movies. VERDICT For fans of glitz, glamour, romance, and old Hollywood. ["Readers of Loving Frank and other biographical fiction will love this well-written and -researched look at Hollywood's glamorous and not-so-glamorous past": LJ 2/1/15 starred review of the Doubleday hc.]-Erin Cataldi, Johnson Cty. P.L., Franklin, IN © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.