Her real and fictional lives collide when the director casts, Dimitri Malakhov, a Russian porn star, as her costar. She immediately fears her image and reputation will be tainted. Personally and professionally, she must face what frightens her most-exposing herself, her fears, her imperfections and her desires to the world.
The experience of filming the movie with Dimitri and being on location in Berlin destroys her prejudices, and judgments. It shatters all her illusions and perceptions. When liberated from her own confines, her life and love truly shine.
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Face it, Hollywood is the land of make believe, the mortar and brick Never, Neverland. When a promising young starlet is chosen to play a role that could land her accolades, awards and solid fame, she struggles with taking it or not, because of her co-star. Olivia has it all, a promising career, a steady, and adoring boyfriend, but is it just a another façade in a city where everyone wears a mask? is it really what she wants? Is she really full of insecurity and needing that adoration of her fans and co-workers to prove her own self-worth? Is she living life to the fullest? Her co-star is a famous actor in his own right, a famous porn actor from Russia, so what would he know about true acting? Why would anyone think she would want to be within an arm’s length of such a person? Olivia has nailed her inner diva. Dimitri is as shocked as everyone else that he has landed this role, but he is determined to prove his worth, both as an actor and as a person. He refuses to be defined by his “attributes.” What unfolds is a tale of two strangers playing pretend for the cameras while off-screen, they discover the true human under the hype. Is it possible that Dimitri really is so much more than Olivia could have imagined? He is larger than life both on screen and off and he has peeled back the layers to the heart of Olivia. Is it just another sensationalized Hollywood working romance or do they share what it takes to last a lifetime? A Soul to Shine by Jennifer Ott shreds the classic Hollywood hype and brings two real people to life, free of the trappings of fame and pretense. While painting amazingly deep and thought-provoking scenes, Ms. Ott has uncovered two souls that fit together like a hand in a glove, who share their strengths, weaknesses and their inner self with each other, free of the cares of fame. The metamorphosis that Olivia undergoes is like watching a pinched and shriveling bud flourish under the nourishment of love and true friendship. Do NOT expect a fast and sunny read, there are few truly light moments, but even through the darkness, a light of hope shines brighter with each page. Settle back and enjoy this trip into a world we only dream about knowing and realize it might be more “house of emotional horrors” than “mirrored funhouse,” unless there is love.
In A Soul to Shine, Olivia Hammond seemingly has it all. Her latest movie, another blockbuster, was just released. Her boyfriend, Trent, is head over heels for her, wants to marry her and even start a family. But despite looking happy on the outside, inside she’s a wreck. She doubts herself, is anxious over what the critics think, and struggles with thoughts of the future, and what she wants her life to turn out like. She tries to escape these troubling thoughts by diving into the role of a young woman trapped in the horrors of postwar Berlin, a role she plays in a new, Oscar-worthy movie she’s shooting. Dimitri Malakhov is a Russian porn star. Despite his profession, he’s actually quite loyal to his girlfriend – only sleeping with others when the job demands it. He’s been struggling to start a career in the United States, so when he gets a call by a director to play in an actual movie, not just a porn movie, he’s a little shocked. But he accepts the job anyway, even if it means he has to help his co-star, famous Olivia Hammond, ‘open up a little’, as the director calls it. Olivia and Dimitri start shooting the film on location in Berlin, reliving the lives of the characters they play during postwar Berlin. Meanwhile, Olivia starts to open up and expose the parts of herself she’d wanted to keep hidden. The closer Olivia and Dimitri get, the more her view on the world, on herself, on what she wants in life, changes. Dimitri too starts struggling, wondering if he still loves his girlfriend, Daniella, wondering if he made the right choices, and if he truly is the person he wanted to be. As they both struggle to find their true selves, they come to quite a few startling realizations. Whereas the plot is all right and interesting enough, it’s the characters that truly make this book shine, which I guess was the author’s intention all along. Dimitri and Olivia have little in common at first glance, until they realize they’re actually going through a similar inner turmoil, and they help each other find the strength to turn their lives around. It was easy to connect with both characters, particularly Olivia, and to sympathize with their struggles. The setting of Berlin worked well too, and gave the book an extra dimension. This was an engaging read with tons of character development. By the end of the book, I cared about the characters so much I was reluctant to let them go. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.