The Garden on Sunset by Martin Turnbull


When Marcus Adler’s father runs him out of Pennsylvania, he can think of only one place to go: 8152 Sunset Boulevard, the home of luminous silent screen star Alla Nazimova, who visited him on his sickbed when he was a child. But when Marcus gets to Hollywood, Madame Nazimova’s home has been converted to a hotel. Marcus checks into The Garden of Allah and starts his new life. He soon finds friends in Kathryn Massey, who ran away from her overbearing stage mother to become a journalist, and Gwendolyn Brick, a hopeful actress from the Other Hollywood—Hollywood, Florida—who wants to try her luck in Glitter City. The three naïve hopefuls band together to tread water against a tidal wave of threadbare casting couches, nervous bootleggers, human billboards, round-the-world zeppelins, sinking gambling boats, waiters in blackface, William Randolph Hearst, the Long Beach earthquake, starlets, harlots, Harlows and Garbos. But how will they get their feet inside Hollywood’s golden door?


My thoughts

Now as you all know I love old Hollywood and all the glitz., glamour, stars and movies, so when I saw that this was a free download I could not click quick enough.

The idea of 3 people moving to Hollywood in 1927 and moving into The Garden of Alla hotel is a great one, all the Hollywood luminairies of the time congregated there for the legendary parties.

The descriptions of the Hollywood scenes were excellent and the characters interesting, but the time jumped from one year to another without much indication and before I knew it, it was the mid 1930s, and well not much happened in those years to the characters other than a lot of name dropping.

The three main characters were driven by their dream and kept plugging away at their respective careers long after most others would have giving up and gone home, but determination is what is needed to succeed in Hollywood and there are real stories of people sticking it our no matter what, but in reality one of them at least would have given up. The odd thing was how easily they made friends with the big Hollywood stars like Alla Nasimova and Tallulah Bankhead, something that would have been unlikely even then, even though the stars were not protected like they are now, their staff would have mostly consisted on current friends and family members.

The writing style is easy to read and as long as you don’t take it too literally as to the reality of the Golden Age of Cinema, you will enjoy it.

But personally I was hoping for something more, I guess I will have to read book 2 to find out.

I gave this 3 out of 5*

About Andrea Pryke

I have been collecting Marilyn Monroe items since 1990 and the collection includes around 400 books, as well as films, documentaries, dolls, records and all sorts of other items
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