Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
It was a rather blurb-less undertaking for me, starting off reading author Susan Meissner for the first time. My initial look at the cover of Stars Over Sunset Boulevard was what got me: the woman with the glamorous vintage haircut and a peek at the Hollywood Sign, which would have said “Hollywoodland” at the time this story begins. The cover design hints at this, but I’ve seen a different version since my first glimpse of it. That’s okay.
Still, Hollywood’s “Golden Age” provides a backdrop for the story of Violet Mayfield and Audrey Duvall’s friendship, and much of the book’s details on that period of the film industry should excite film enthusiasts like me. My already being familiar with the making of Gone with the Wind means that much of the novel’s information on that movie wasn’t new to me, and there are some parts where the GWTW details do indeed feel like “information” instead of needful components to the novel’s actual plot, but my interest wasn’t lost.
The writing style seems to fluctuate through the book, at times having little subtlety, not leaving much room for the reader’s discernment, while at other times the writing is keen and poignant in its reflection on the human experience. I didn’t always find the characters to be the most believable or intriguing as the story progressed, and I found the unfolding of the main romance to be flat.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading on to follow Violet’s and Audrey’s separate and shared journeys, Hollywood-related and beyond, and the book’s rather beautiful ending puts an almost jarring but natural punctuation on the whole matter.