Starstruck by Rachel Shukert paints a dazzling tableau of 1930s Hollywood; at once glamorous and gruesome, somber and scintillating, Shukert's novel plunges readers into both Tinsel Town glitz and pre-WWII political tension. When Pasadena debutante Margaret Frobisher lands an acting contract with Olympus Studios, she finds herself immersed in a web of tantalizing secrets. There's Amanda Faraday, the bewitching ginger with a scandalous past that, if unearthed, could wreck her career before it begins; Gabby Preston, a vaudeville starlet intent on clawing her way to silver screen fame, whatever the cost; and resident hunk Dane Forrest, who harbors a devastating loss behind those dreamy green eyes. As Margaret soon learns, nothing is free and no one is without something to hide.
As portrayed alternately through the eyes of Margaret, Gabby, and Amanda, Shukert's old Hollywood offers readers a refreshingly holistic view of stardom. From Gabby's overdosing on diet pills to Amanda's graveyarding as call girl to the studio executives, Starstruck illustrates both the injustices and euphoria of 1930s celebrity. Although spot-on period details encamp this novel firmly in pre-WWII Hollywood, the characters are anything but archetypical fixtures of the era. Rather, Margaret, Gabby, and Amanda are as timeless as they are complex, individuals in whose lives I see the reflection of my own. Deftly paced, Starstruck enthralls the reader, while also allowing time to savor the expansive, luxuriantly-detailed world Shukert has created. Resplendent with intrigue, romance, and poignancy, Starstruck by Rachel Shukert is historical fiction at its finest.