Publisher: Five Star
Publish Date: October 6, 2010
Hardcover, 390 pages
Why I read this: I have interviewed this author before and she contacted me to be a part of the tour for this book, I read the blurb and was intrigued and immediately said yes.
How is the novel driven: Character, this is about the primarily about the life of John Doyle and Pauline Sloane.
My thoughts: Wow, Ms. Sternberg has done a wonderful job with Sloane Hall and it's ability to transport me back into time, into the 1920s. I don't know much about this era, but her book feels real to me and I felt like I was in that time, when movies changed from silent to spoken word and how big a change that really was. I honestly thought it was no big deal, but when you think about how much acting had to go into movies without sound it's really impressive. So the setting and the time were done beautifully and I loved this setting.
I will now confess that I have not read Jane Eyre (but will remedy that soon) so I don't know about the parallels to Sloane Hall. I do know that John is a tortured hero, he falls for Pauline but she continues to hurt him no matter what he does and there are some similarities between John's mom and Pauline's behavior that make John want to stay far from Pauline, but he can't. I loved the tortured soul part of it and both characters John and Pauline are tortured in different ways. But not so much that the book becomes unbearable to read, just enough that you feel for both characters trying to change and John trying to change Pauline. The characters are well-written and well-developed. They moved the story along and they were interesting. They were the ones that kept me turning pages. Would John still love Pauline, would she change, what would happen next.
There were even very unexpected things for me in the plot, I won't give those away because I want you to be surprised as well. The surprises work beautifully to move the story along and create more character growth for John.
What else can I say - Ms. Sternberg has a winner in this novel and I am thrilled I got a chance to read and review it. She writes beautiful, tortured characters, puts you right in the time frame and crafts an amazing story around all of it. Wonderful job and a wonderful book - give it a try and see for yourself.
My Rating: 4.75/5.0
About the Book:
In 1920s Hollywood, young John Doyle learns the craft of cinematography when a stupid mistake costs him his job. On a tip, he heads to Sloane Hall, the estate of a famous silent screen actress, Pauline Sloane, where he lands a position as chauffeur. Sloane Hall first offers him peace as he enjoys the bounty of the luxurious home, then unrest as its beautiful namesake returns and starts preparing for her first talking picture. Despite his best efforts to resist, John falls hopelessly in love with his employer. His future brightens, however, when she appears to return his affection, leading to plans for a secret wedding--until other awful secrets intrude, leading to heartbreak and separation. A story of obsession and forgiveness, Libby Sternberg's Sloane Hall was inspired by Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre.
About the Author:
Libby Sternberg is the author of historical fiction, young adult mystery (for which she was an Edgar nominee), and, writing as Libby Malin, humorous women's fiction.
Her YA mysteries have been called "taut, vivid and stirring," by Library Journal while her latest humorous women's fiction was called "a world of wit and chaos, intelligently written," by Booklist.
A graduate of a music conservatory, she worked as a Japanese Geisha, Russian courtier, French courtesan, Chinese peasant and Middle Eastern slave after college -- that is, she sang in the choruses of Baltimore and Washington Operas. Vocal music plays a crucial role in her historical mystery, Death Is the Cool Night, offered in digital format on Kindle.
A native of Baltimore, she now lives in Pennsylvania. She is married and has three children, of whom she is immensely proud.
FTC Information: I received this book from the author for review. I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws. I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.