The Kindness of Strangers

The Kindness of Strangers

by Mary Mackey
     
 

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From the smoky decadence of pre-World War II Berlin to the drug-fueled excitement of mid-eighties Hollywood, THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS tells the spellbinding story of three remarkable actresses.



Viola is discovered by Sarah Bernhardt and rockets to the top of New York vaudeville. While in Berlin, Viola falls madly for a satirical playwright whose

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Overview

From the smoky decadence of pre-World War II Berlin to the drug-fueled excitement of mid-eighties Hollywood, THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS tells the spellbinding story of three remarkable actresses.



Viola is discovered by Sarah Bernhardt and rockets to the top of New York vaudeville. While in Berlin, Viola falls madly for a satirical playwright whose incendiary work infuriates the fast-growing Nazi party—and cause his tragic death.



Against the odds, Viola survives and her daughter, Kathe, becomes a star of early television despite growing up during the London blitz. Kathe’s starpower quickly proves she’s more than just a starlette’s daughter, launching her career and changing her mother’s life forever.



Kathe’s daughter Mandy’s first movie makes her the brightest star yet, and a darling of the frenetic Hollywood scene—until a shocking tragedy threatens to end her career for good.


Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Two wars, three countries and four famous actresses propel this weighty saga through six decades of history. The focus is on Viola Kessler, whose mother's dress caught fire from an onstage candle, whose playwright husband Joseph was doused with gasoline and ignited by a Nazi flunky, and whose granddaughter Mandy, her career at its brilliant beginning, was trapped in a flaming helicopter. After Joseph's death, when Viola is playing to packed houses in Paris, she marries the socialist Richard Stafford, who turns out to be an English milord and lures her to London with the promise of a theater of her own. Viola brings her daughter Kathe to her husband's country estate for a period of relative quiet until the Spanish Civil War erupts and Richard is killed. World War II brings other stresses to Viola's life; she smuggles Jews out of Germany, but later is accused of collaborating with the Nazis. Then her daughter Kathe departs for New York, where she marries an old friend of her mother's, a producer who teaches her the tricks of the acting trade. Earnest, courageous and well-meaning though they are, the protagonists never come to life, nor does the prose measure up to the events it recounts. But packed with incident, with stellar figures from the worlds of politics and theater, this new novel by the author of A Grand Passion will not fail to galvanize narrative-hungry readers. (June)
Library Journal - Library Journal
The world of theater comes alive with the story of matriarch Viola Kessler's dramatic life. Reared in the heyday of vaudeville in New York City, Viola pursues her career as an actress in Germany during the tumultuous years of Hitler's rise to power. Rich in background detail, these years are the most vivid in the novel. Less exciting is daughter Kathe's meteoric rise to fame in live television. By the time too-good-to-be-true granddaughter Mandy scales the heights of fame and fortune in movies in Hollywood, our interest has waned. If readers can discount the melodramatic opening and simply enjoy Viola's story, they probably will like this book. Lydia Burruel Johnson, Mesa P.L., Ariz.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781614308195
Publisher:
Lowenstein Associates
Publication date:
08/02/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
1,042,847
File size:
1 MB

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