STAR QUALITY by Joan Collins


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Clunky potboiler from the former queen of B-movies and TV soaps, starring the descendants of a humble Irish housemaid who reach the heights of Hollywood stardom.

Young Millie McClancey, orphaned by the 1917 influenza epidemic, takes a job in the London house of a duke—and gets noticed by his dissolute son, who can’t resist her flame-red curls, cerulean eyes, and whatnot. Her ruination begins innocently enough: Tobias Swannell, handsome, swaggering heir to the dukedom and all its properties, loves to hear the sweet young thing sing music-hall airs, but her impromptu concerts lead to significant fooling around on the sofa. Pregnant and disgraced, Millie is cast out by the stern butler, then befriended by an elderly (and fortunately homosexual) theater producer, who puts her on the stage and arranges for someone else to care for her illegitimate daughter. Soon the toast of London and then New York, Millie throws all her energy into her career, warbling away in near-nudity and thrilling audiences that include sexy gangster Marco Novello. Millie’s inevitable slide into drink and depression—and her mysterious death in an explosion—put her daughter Vickie next in line for stardom, aided by Marco. Not getting the role of Scarlett O’Hara is a setback, but pin-up fame during WWII awaits, plus innumerable parts in lousy movies. Much-married Vickie moves on to the perverted grandson of the dissolute duke, not knowing that there’s an incestuous link. Her daughter Lulu, sired by the love of her life (a Gary Cooper clone), becomes a world-famous model known for her sultry sensuality and lesbian affairs. As a child, she accidentally saw the Cooper clone banging away lustily at her naked Mummy, turning her off men forever—except for one hot night with a paid superstud, resulting in a daughter, also Millie, who becomes an overnight rock superstar at 14.

Lots of steam but no real heat, from the ever-shameless Collins (Infamous, 1996, etc.).

Pub Date: Nov. 13th, 2002
ISBN: 1-4013-0000-6
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2002


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