Published by Harper ISBN 978-0-06-2319191-7
Trade paperback, $15.99, 447 pages
Reading Adriana Trigiani's newest novel All The Stars In The Heavens feels like watching a fascinating Turner Classic Movies documentary. I felt like putting on my best peignoir, slipping on my feathered mules, applying the reddest shade of lipstick, and mixing myself a martini garnished with olives as I dove into the story-behind-the-story of Loretta Young and Clark Gable's forbidden Hollywood romance while reclining on my bedroom chaise.
Loretta Young was a hardworking, well-known young actress when she was cast as the thirteen-years-older Clark Cable's love interest in the movie The Call of The Wild. The movie was to be shot on location in a remote area near Seattle.
Young's assistant, the former-almost-nun-until-she-was-told-by-Mother-Superior-that-she-was-not-nun-material Alda Ducci accompanied Loretta. They were among the very few women on the set, so they managed to attract the attentions of more than a few of the men.
Clark Gable avidly pursued Loretta, even though he was married. Loretta had just ended a romantic, though chaste, relationship with actor Spencer Tracy and even though she had a reputation for falling a little bit in love with her leading men, she was determined not to do so with Gable.
She resisted until she couldn't anymore, and when Loretta and Gable traveled to Seattle to be witnesses to a wedding between Alda and a set painter after a whirlwind romance, she gave in.
The affair had long-lasting consequences, and although Gable promised that he was going to divorce his wife to be with Loretta, he strung Loretta along. Loretta had a career to worry about, and home wrecker would not look good in the tabloids or on her resume.
There were so many things I loved about All The Stars In The Heavens, it could be a multi-part post, but I will just touch on the highlights.
- The novel takes real people and a true story and imagines what really happened, and those kind of stories I find irresistible when done well, and Trigiani aims high and hits a home run here.
- I love Hollywood behind-the-scenes-stories, and to see a different side of have such unforgettable characters as Young, Gable, a young David Niven, Spencer Tracy, Myrna Loy and Hattie McDaniel was thrilling.
- The scene with Gable and Hattie McDaniel on the set of Saratoga, the 1937 movie where Jean Harlow died on set, made me giddy. We see their bantering and flirting, and now I remember why I loved the scenes between Mammy and Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind so much. (GWTW is my favorite movie!)
- Women in Trigiani's books are strong women, and always strive to have a career. Here we see that Loretta worked hard to support her mother and sisters, and invested her money in real estate. How many women (or men) in Hollywood were smart enough to do that? Loretta's mother, a single mom, had to raise her four daughters, and built a stellar career in real estate investment and interior design. She was a terrific example for her girls, and Trigiani's protagonists are good examples for women to work hard and follow their dreams to get ahead.
- The gorgeous cover of the paperback edition makes this a book to own in hardcover and paperback.
I could go on and on, but I'll just tell you that I loved that Trigiani has stepped up her already stellar game in All The Stars In The Heavens, and you will lose yourself in a dazzling Hollywood love story that will have you googling Loretta Young/Clark Cable to find out the story that inspired this gorgeous novel. I give it my highest recommendation.
I wrote a #WeekendCooking post about the foodie passages in All The Stars In The Heavens here.
Adriana Trigiana's website is here. Like her author page on Facebook for fun giveaways.