"Everything was the same. Nothing had changed. Everything but the snow."
I was first introduced to Adriana Trigiani a little over two years ago when I read The Shoemaker's Wife. I really enjoyed that book and I loved this one too. I was a bit spectacle to start it - it got somewhat mixed reviews from what I've seen and there has been a lot a negative feedback due to the fact that Loretta Young's daughter-in-law publicly claimed that the birth of Loretta's daughter, Judy Lewis, had been a result of date rape by Clark Gable and that they did not have an affair that had been previously assumed. I believe that this happened in 2015 - shortly before the book came out. Since this is a fictional account of the characters and their lives, I am going to base my review of the book on that and not the accuracy of the events - which I am assume that the author did not know about when the book was being written.
This novel was the story of two women - the famous movie star of the 1930s and 1940s, Loretta Young, and her secretary, Alda Ducci. They novel covered several decades of their always intertwining lives. I would have liked to see a little more character development of both women, but what really draw me into the novel was the writing of the setting and the time period - primarily Hollywood in the 1930s. I'm not sure if I would have gotten this as much if I had read the book instead of listening to the audio version, but what I loved most about the novel was the energy. From Loretta's life at home with her sisters and mother to the set of Call of the Wild, I could almost feel as if I were there. The sections focusing on Loretta were also a very interesting contrast to that of Alda - who was involved in show business, but in a much more simple and mostly removed way.
I felt for both women, who had their own set of life-long struggles and burdens to bare. And when Judy Lewis was born, I felt for her as well. Even though I understood the circumstances, I felt that it was unfair that she wasn't even given the option to know her father, especially when she grew older. Gable seemed to love Loretta (to an extent) and Judy, but - as the book states many times - he didn't know how to love them. And he knew nothing about how to be a good father or husband, despite the fact that he was married several times. Despite what was true and what wasn't, I really enjoyed this book: the energy, the setting, the characters, and the tragic love stories that I kept cheering on even though I ultimately knew the outcome.
And now to go watch some old Hollywood movies :)