I love books by Kate Alcott, so I was thrilled to see that she wrote one about the heyday of Hollywood. The Hollywood Daughter is told from the point of view of the daughter of a publicist who represents, among others, Ingrid Bergman. Jesse idolizes Ingrid Bergman and when Bergman comes to her school to film The Bells of St. Mary, Jesse’s strict Catholic upbringing and her Hollywood family life collide.
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker and A Touch of Stardust, comes a Hollywood coming-of-age novel, in which Ingrid Bergman’s affair with Roberto Rossellini forces her biggest fan to reconsider everything she was raised to believe
In 1950, Ingrid Bergman—already a major star after movies like Casablanca and Joan of Arc—has a baby out of wedlock with her Italian lover, film director Roberto Rossellini. Previously held up as an icon of purity, Bergman’s fall shocked her legions of American fans.
Growing up in Hollywood, Jessica Malloy watches as her PR executive father helps make Ingrid a star at Selznick Studio. Over years of fleeting interactions with the actress, Jesse comes to idolize Ingrid, who she considered not only the epitome of elegance and integrity, but also the picture-perfect mother, an area where her own difficult mom falls short.
In a heated era of McCarthyism and extreme censorship, Ingrid’s affair sets off an international scandal that robs seventeen-year-old Jesse of her childhood hero. When the stress placed on Jesse’s father begins to reveal hidden truths about the Malloy family, Jesse’s eyes are opened to the complex realities of life—and love.
Beautifully written and deeply moving, The Hollywood Daughter is an intimate novel of self-discovery that evokes a Hollywood sparkling with glamour and vivid drama.
There are lots of themes in this book, and they are all wrapped up in the era of Hollywood and the events of the 1940’s and 50’s. I love love love reading about Hollywood, and this was a fun read in this respect. However, there is a whole lot more to this book, and some of it is symbolized in Jesse’s relationship and reliance on her Catholic faith. Her Catholicism plays a pivotal role in the novel and at first I wondered why. It comes to represent (or at least I feel it does!) her relationship with her parents. When she was young, she accepted everything they told her unquestioningly and she had a blind faith in her own father, as she did in her church. Disappointments prevailed and by adulthood Jesse finds herself isolated both from her mother and from the church. It was an interesting parallel.
Highly recommended if you enjoy books of this time period as I do!
Thank you for my review e-copy, received via Net Galley!
Through Blogging for Books, I received a review copy of ON HEAVEN AND EARTH, which is subtitled Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the 21st Century. This is a bit of a misnomer since the entire book is a conversation between Pope Francis (before he was Pope and was an Archbishop in Argentina) and Argentinian Rabbi Abraham Skorka. The book is divided into short chapters which cover their conversations about a wide variety of topics and how they are viewed in the Catholic and Jewish faiths: God, family, sexuality, world issues, euthanasia, etc. It is easy to read and a great book to pick up if you only have a short time to read, as you can cover a chapter or two easily. I felt like I was sitting in a room, listening to these two men discuss the issues. Their conversations were insightful and intellectual, yet respectful and open.
Highly recommended if you enjoy reading and learning about religion or, if you are Catholic or Jewish, want to better understand your own faith!
On a whim I put in to receive “The Vatican Diaries” by John Thavis from Net Galley. Little did I know that Pope Benedict XVI was about to resign his position as Pontiff! As a lifelong Catholic, I thought I would find the insider’s look at the vatican interesting. What a fascinating read this was!
Just published last week, “The Vatican Diaries” (which is subtitled “A Behind the Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities, and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church) chronicles a variety of events and issues spanning the last thirty years. Author John Thavis was a key reporter for the Catholic News Service and spent many years inside the Vatican. His stories range from how the bells are rung when a new Pope is chosen to the sex scandal and how it was handled to some interesting characters and their personalities. Throughout his stories, which are deemed fact not fiction, the inner workings of the Vatican are revealed – the personalities and conflicts, the gossip and infighting, the lack of organization and cohesion. At times over the years the Vatican has made statements — or I should say has been quoted — and I’ve thought, “Wait – what??” This book showed some of these circumstances and how/why they came about.
I found this book fascinating. In light of Pope Benedict’s departure it is even more timely. As a Catholic I found interesting, but I think non-Catholics would find it interesting, too. Politics, power, religion, and relationships – truth can be stranger than fiction!