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16 October 2015

Review: 'The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine' by Alex Brunkhorst (2015)

Family secrets. Forbidden love. And the true price of wealth.

Thomas is a small-town boy and when Lily invites him to a dinner party, he gains access to the exclusive upper echelons of Hollywood society. As he enters a world of private jets and sprawling mansions, his life and career take off beyond his wildest dreams.

Then he meets Matilda Duplaine.

Beautiful and mysterious, Matilda has spent her entire life within the walls of her powerful father’s Bel-Air estate and Thomas is immediately entranced by her. But what starts as an enchanted romance soon threatens to destroy their lives and the lives of everyone around them.

I never understood the magic of F. Scott Fitzgerald's popular classic 'The Great Gatsby.' I first read the book while I was at secondary school and once again when I was at university, but the story just didn't do much for me. So, when I saw Alex Brunkhortst's novel 'The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine', which was released on the 8th of October, was described as a modern-day Great Gatsby, I wasn't too sure whether this book would be for me at first. However, I was definitely intrigued by the description of the story and really wanted to give it a chance, so I did. I was lucky enough to find a review copy of the novel in my mailbox and was curious to see whether this book would really match 'The Great Gatsby' or whether I would perhaps end up enjoying it a lot more than the famous classic!

Thomas Cleary is a small-town boy and young reporter who, after a big mistake, decides to move from New York to LA, to start over. When he is asked to write a story about the famous Joel Goldman, who just passed away, Thomas decides to try and get a quote from Joel's daughter Lily. A visit to her antiques shop unexpectedly leads to a dinner with several important people in the film business, and before he knows it, Thomas has found himself a way into the glamorous Hollywood world of these stars. His career is suddenly on the rise again, but Thomas is warned: these kind of things always come with a specific price. When Thomas meets the stunning and mysterious Matilda, he knows he has to see her again, but this comes with a big risk. Question is, is Thomas willing to risk everything he has managed to build up again for a girl like Matilda?

Ever since I finished this novel the story has been floating around in my mind, and I personally always think that's a good sign, because it means the book has managed to make a lasting impression. After the first few chapters I was already completely absorbed by 'The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine', which is a wonderful mix of intrigue, romance, and mystery. Author Alex Brunkhorst has the ability to set the scene in a fantastic way; using the right words and descriptions to really make you feel as if you've stepped into a completely different place and time. I loved the feel of the 1920s Hollywood glamour and it suited the story perfectly. The author's writing style was well-paced and I was able to get lost in it and be really engrossed by the story.

The novel has quite a fascinating group of characters at its core. Protagonist Thomas is trying to find a way to rebuild his career as a reporter and he's given a fantastic opportunity when he meets Lily Goldman. I loved the group of famous and important people Thomas starts to belong to; each character had a mysterious touch to them and I longed to find out each and every single one of their stories. I was also straight away enchanted by Matilda and her life, and really wondered how everything would eventually play out. This novel is described as a modern-day Great Gatsby, but I personally thought it's better than the classic and much more enjoyable. 'The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine' is an intriguing, entertaining and enchanting read that provides the reader a look into the mysterious and glamorous lives of a group of the Hollywood rich and famous. A read that has made a lasting impression!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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