THE STARLET by Mary McNamara


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Fleeing her high-pressure job managing PR for Los Angeles’ Pinnacle Hotel, Juliette Greyson finds her trip to Italy compromised by a movie star with problems even bigger than her own.

Bruised and confused—and who wouldn’t be?—by all the criminal and amatory intrigue she faced in her job (Oscar Season, 2008), Juliette Greyson has retreated to Cerreta, the guesthouse farm outside Siena that she and her cousin Gabriel Delfino own. But her solitude is soon dashed by fragile former child star Mercy Talbot, who’s convinced that she needs her own retreat after the suicide of her costar Lloyd Watson and the troubled Italian shoot Lloyd’s death has brought to a screeching halt. Furthermore, Mercy, on the run from her stage mother Angie Gropler, is convinced that she needs the therapeutic powers of Cerreta and Juliette. The wounded young woman seems to relax under the Tuscan sun, maybe because she’s cut off from drugs and alcohol, maybe just because she’s seen the movie. All too soon, however, Angie arrives on the farm, followed by director Ben Golonski and producer Carson Cooper, whose love for the place takes the specific form of wanting to finish shooting the picture there—a development that would be intolerable if it didn’t happen to fulfill Gabe’s desperate need for the cash to keep the place going. Could Juliette’s life possibly be any more complicated? Only if her ex-lover Michael O’Connor were cast in Lloyd’s place as Mercy’s costar; only if he were joined at Cerreta by reformed rocker Steve Usher, rehab guru to the stars, and Eamonn Devlin, Juliette’s boss; only if another untimely death threatened to shut down the endless flow of penetrating insights and apt metaphors the characters shower on each other and the endless complications surrounding Mercy, “the most amazing person I have ever met.”

Grand Hotel on location.

Pub Date: June 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4391-4984-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2010