The Garden of Allah Hotel on Sunset Boulevard — Hollywood’s most infamous hotel during Hollywood’s most famous era.
Right before talking pictures slug Tinsel Town in the jaw, a luminous silent screen star converts her private estate into the Garden of Allah Hotel. The lush grounds soon become a haven for Hollywood hopefuls to meet, drink, and revel through the night. George Cukor is in the pool, Tallulah Bankhead is at the bar, and Scott Fitzgerald is sneaking off to a bungalow with Sheilah Graham while Madame Alla Nazimova keeps watch behind her lace curtains.
Book One: “The Garden on Sunset” — The real story of the Garden of Allah begins with its first residents, three kids on the brink of something big. Marcus Adler jumps on the midnight train out of Pennsylvania and heads for the only address he knows: 8152 Sunset Boulevard. Kathryn Massey has bigger plans than fulfilling her mother’s thwarted dreams: she has her eye on the Hollywood Reporter. Gwendolyn Brick is from the wrong Hollywood: Hollywood, Florida, but six days, three trains, a bus and two streets cars will fix that. Together, they learn that nobody gets a free pass in Hollywood, but a room at the Garden on Sunset can get your foot in the door.
Book Two: “The Trouble with Scarlett” — “Gone with the Wind” is released by first-time author Margaret Mitchell and becomes an international sensation. Everyone in Hollywood knows that Civil War pictures don’t make a dime but renegade movie producer David O. Selznick snaps up the movie rights and suddenly the whole country is obsessed with answering just one question: Who will win the role of Scarlett O’Hara?
Book Three: “Citizen Hollywood” — Orson Welles, the enfant terrible of New York, is coming to Hollywood to make his first movie. Tinsel City is agog! Can he even direct a movie? What will it be about? Will he scandalize the West Coast the way he’s shocked the East Coast? And, more importantly, who will he bed first and does he kiss-and-tell? When William Randolph Hearst realizes “Citizen Kane” is based on him, he won’t be happy—and when Hearst isn’t happy, nobody’s safe. Marcus, Kathryn, and Gwendolyn need to go for broke, and the clock is ticking.
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About the Author
Martin Turnbull has worked as a private tour guide showing both locals and out-of-towners the movie studios, Beverly Hills mansions, Hollywood hills vistas and where all the bodies are buried. For nine years, he has also volunteered as an historical walking tour docent with the Los Angeles Conservancy. He worked for a summer as a guide at the Warner Bros. movie studios in Burbank showing movie fans through the sound stages where Bogie and Bacall, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, and James Cagney created some of Hollywood’s classic motion pictures. From an early age, Martin was enchanted with old movies from Hollywood’s golden era–from the dawn of the talkies in the late 1920s to the dusk of the studio system in the late 1950s–and has spent many, many a happy hour watching the likes of Garland, Gable, Crawford, Garbo, Grant, Miller, Kelly, Astaire, Rogers, Turner, Welles go through their paces. When he discovered the wonderful world of biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs, his love of reading merged with his love of movies and his love of history to produce a three-headed hydra gobbling up everything in his path. Ever since then, he’s been on a mission to learn and share as much as he can about this unique time. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Martin moved to Los Angeles in the mid-90s.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Really enjoyed this novel. Usually I can live with not reading the follow-ons in the series (bugs me that they always try to get you hooked with Book 1 being free). I am seriously considering purchasing the follow-on books. I like the way the author wove the lives of his fictional characters to real-life Hollywood characters.
Sympathetic characters, shifting points of view, and intertwining plots make this novel more than ordinary. The Hollywood of the 1920's and 30's is explored and exposed in interesting ways as stars and directors become supporting characters. Highly recommended light reading.
First book in the series, and Martin has me wanting to time travel for the whole series. He is meticulous in his story telling, and makes me excited to read!!