Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine - Alex Brunkhorst

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine
Alex Brunkhorst
MIRA, Sep 22 2015, $26.99
ISBN: 9780778317531

With the death of legendary Hollywood studio chief Joel Goldman, Los Angeles Times editor Phil Rubenstein, wanting a retrospective article, sends a low-level reporter Thomas Cleary to obtain quotes from the deceased’s fiftyish daughter Lily and other “guests”.  Rubenstein expects Cleary will fail re Lily who loathes journalists, but might get something useful from the intoxicated at Goldman’s Bel Air estate. 

Upon meeting the reporter, Lily likes his Milwaukee Catholic honesty.  To his astonishment, she asks Thomas to stay for dinner.  At the repast, Thomas meets VIPs and their mates.  They all like the Midwesterner and invite him to special events to boost his career.  When Thomas attends a fundraiser at the Duplaine estate, no one else is there except Matilda Duplaine.  Though meeting for the first time, they talk for hours; he likes her but she bewilders him.  As they begin clandestine meetings, Matilda realizes she must leave home for the first time ever in her life if she is to continue to see Thomas.  They go to Hawaii, but his curiosity gets the better of him as he seeks to solve the gilded enigma he loves.

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine is a captivating Hollywood drama that reads like Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca in a Jackie Collins setting.  Fans will empathize with Cleary who struggles with a desire to join the exclusive Hollywood club; yet also believes at the same time he is a minnow swimming amidst sharks.  However, it is the mystery of Matilda that keeps the audience’s attention because, like Cleary, we want to know more about her. 

Harriet Klausner

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