Read from July 17 to 23, 2014 — I own a copy
I really enjoyed this book by Jennifer Niven. The amount of research that must've gone in to this novel had to be extraordinary. I am filing this book under historical fiction but there are many guest appearances by real, larger than life people from Hollywood's legendary movie industry. One interesting guest appearance in Niven's tale is Louis B. Mayer, long ago king of Hollywood and the grand emperor of MGM. Mayer is once again at the helm and the reader is transported back to the glitz and glamour of a Hollywood that no longer exists, when stars were notoriously protected by their production company and managing teams used strong arm tactics to keep their stars free from scandal. MGM stars were wholesome, family-friendly, and led magical lives. At least in the public eye. What REALLY happened behind the scenes? American Blonde is about a fictitious WWII hero, who becomes a rising star at MGM. It's also the fourth book in the Velva Jean series by Jennifer Niven. I'm not usually a series book lover but this is one series I will definitely be exploring in the future.
Velva Jean Hart has returned from WWII and is on her way to a new life in Hollywood. Velva Jean, a WASP from the hills of North Carolina, is transformed into the glamorous Kit Rogers. Kit is once again reunited in Hollywood with another former WASP and star named Barbara Fanning. Kit and Barbara share a love of flying and a close friendship but there are secrets that Barbara has not shared with Kit and they will soon be revealed. As Kit struggles to uncover the mysteries surrounding her friend, MGM will do all it can to keep these secrets hidden at all costs.
I don't want to reveal to much because I hope other readers will be as surprised by the plot twists as I was. I enjoyed being taken back to the old days of Hollywood. The book came alive in my hands and I was able to envision the glitzy gowns, dressing rooms, the stage and all the performers. I loved the descriptions of the MGM lot in the late 1940's. I've always been fascinated with this period in film history. Niven describes this glorious, glamorous time so well and it was very easy to actually hear the music and live in the days when movies were magical and stars were big, bold, dramatic and real.
Thanks to Penguin and First to Read for the opportunity to read this ARC/DRC in exchange for an honest review.