From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker comes a blockbuster novel that takes you behind the scenes of the filming of Gone with the Wind, while turning the spotlight on the passionate romance between its dashing leading man, Clark Gable, and the blithe, free-spirited actress Carole Lombard.
When Julie Crawford leaves Fort Wayne, Indiana, for Hollywood, she never imagines she’ll cross paths with Carole Lombard, the dazzling actress fromJulie’s provincial Midwestern hometown. The young woman has dreams of becoming a screenwriter, but 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 films 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.
Carole Lombard, happily profane and uninhibited, makes no secret of her relationship with Gable, which poses something of a problem for the studio because 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 blond employer, let alone control what comes out of Carole’s mouth, and—as their friendship grows—Julie soon finds she doesn’t want to. Carole, both wise and funny, becomes Julie’s model for breaking free of the past.
In the ever-widening scope of this story, 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 offscreen, 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 her career aspirations and her own budding romance with the outsized personalities and overheated drama on set. Vivid, romantic, and filled with Old Hollywood details, A Touch of Stardust will entrance, surprise, and delight.
About the Author
KATE ALCOTT is the pseudonym for journalist Patricia O’Brien, who has written several books, both fiction and nonfiction. As Kate Alcott, she is the New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker and The Daring Ladies of Lowell. She lives in Washington, D.C. The many stories shared by her late husband, Frank Mankiewicz, who grew up in a legendary film family, helped her bring Old Hollywood to life.
Praise for A Touch of Stardust…
“Kate Alcott effortlessly evokes the shimmering world of vintage Hollywood as she drops a plucky young woman from Indiana into the tumultuous set of Gone With the Wind and a legendary silver screen romance, against the backdrop of the gathering storm in Europe. If you’ve ever longed to be a fly on the wall as Clark Gable loses his heart to the effervescent Carole Lombard, or watch Vivien Leigh gather herself together for her greatest scene, you’ll devour this book as hungrily as I did.”
— Beatriz Williams, New York Times bestselling author of A Hundred Summers
“Sparkling with the magic of classic moviemaking and set against the fiery drama of Hollywood's Gone With the Wind filming, Alcott weaves fact and fiction so that readers cheer for the story to be reality— a place where we all might find... a touch of stardust. “
— Sarah McCoy, New York Times bestselling author of The Baker's Daughter
"Alcott makes good use of her research to portray the turbulent Gone With the Wind shoot, Lombard's earthy personality and genuine love for the equally no-BS Gable… Julie and Andy's tender but bumpy affair is also nicely depicted…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."
-- Kirkus Review
“Alcott should entrance large audiences with her stellar historical novel…nuanced and substantive… 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.”
"How fun is this? Alcott, author of the New York Times best-selling The Dressmaker, has written a big, sprawling novel about the filming of Gone with the Wind, with a side trip to the boiling-over romance between its leading man, Clark Gable, and sunny Carole Lombard."
— Library Journal