Citizen Hollywood: A Novel of Golden-Era Hollywood by Martin Turnbull

Book Review : Citizen Hollywood: A Novel of Golden-Era Hollywood

By Martin Turnbull

  • Publication Date: 2014-01-12
  • Genre: Historical
4.5 Score: 4.5 (From 8 Ratings)

Book Review

Have you ever wanted to climb into a time machine and visit Hollywood during its heyday?

Hollywood, 1939: When Tinseltown begins to woo wunderkind Orson Welles, he stashes himself at the Chateau Marmont until he’s ready to make his splashy entrance. But gossip columnist Kathryn Massey knows he’s there.

Kathryn has been on the outs with Hollywood since her ill-fated move to Life, but now that she’s back at the Hollywood Reporter, she’s desperate to find the Next Big Thing. Scooping Welles’ secret retreat would put her back on the map, but by the time she hears rumors about his dangerous new movie, she’s fallen prey to his charms. She needs to repair her reputation, find out if Welles will take on the tycoon, and extricate herself from an affair with a man whose kisses make her melt like milk chocolate.

Hollywood writers are only as good as their last screen credit, but Marcus Adler is still scrambling for his first. His "Strange Cargo" will star Clark Gable after "Gone with the Wind" wraps, but Machiavellian studio politics mean Marcus’ name might not make it to the screen. It’s time to play No More Mr. Nice Guy. Opportunity knocks when his boss challenges the writing department to outdo "The Adventures of Robin Hood," and Marcus is confident—until the love of his life bursts back onto the scene. How can he write another word until he knows for once and for all whether he and Ramon Navarro will be together? And to make matters worse, it seems like someone in town is trying to sabotage him.

Everyone knows if you haven’t made it in Hollywood by the time you’re thirty, it’s curtains . . . and Gwendolyn Brick is starting to panic. She’s considering moving to a naval base in the Philippines with her baby brother, but she wants to give Hollywood one last go before she gives up. When she saves Twentieth Century Fox honcho Daryl F. Zanuck from an appalling fate at a poker game that goes awry, he rewards her with a chance at a role in a major movie. Gwendolyn needs to win before her ship sets sail.

When William Randolph Hearst realizes "Citizen Kane" is based on him, he won’t be happy—and when Hearst isn’t happy, nobody’s safe. Marcus, Kathryn, and Gwendolyn need to go for broke, and the clock is ticking.

"Citizen Hollywood" is the third installment in the Hollywood's Garden of Allah saga, a series of historical novels set in Hollywood's heyday. If you like authentic and richly-detailed history, compelling and memorable characters, and seeing fiction and history seamlessly woven together, then you'll love Martin Turnbull's authentic portrayal of the City of Angels.
Martin Turnbull's Garden of Allah novels have been optioned for the screen by film & television producer, Tabrez Noorani.

INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR

What was your original inspiration?

I came across an online article about the Garden of Allah Hotel, which opened on Sunset Boulevard in 1927, just before “The Jazz Singer.” The Garden’s residents witnessed the unfolding evolution of Hollywood, and actively participated in it.

How has writing these novels changed your view of this golden age that we perceive as the greatest era of film production?

L.A. was a much less densely populated city. People moved from MGM to Paramount to Twentieth Century-Fox to RKO to Warner Bros. Two or three degrees of separation were usually enough!

Why did you not go the safe route and change the names of the major players to suit your story?

The whole point of recounting the history of Hollywood through the Garden of Allah was because so many celebrities lived there. Harpo Marx and Sergei Rachmaninoff were neighbors, F. Scott Fitzgerald played charades with Dorothy Parker, Errol Flynn got drunk, Ginger Rogers searched for a tennis partner, and Bogart courted Bacall. I figured: Why tell it if I’m going to change the names?

Do you think stories set in old Hollywood are becoming more popular because of Turner Classic Movies?

Yes! TCM has produced a whole new audience for them!

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User Reviews

  • Keeps getting better & better

    5
    By agent1
    Martin Turnbull has, once again written a brilliant and detailed book about old Hollywood. I've read all 3 novels now, and they keep getting better. This is a fast read, and very entertaining. If you love the glamour of old Hollywood, you'll love this, as well as his other two novels. Hoping and praying there'll be a 4th!!

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