I was in love with The Gilded Life Of Matilda Duplaine by page 30. There was an elegance to the plot that mixed old Hollywood and glamour to create an intriguing classic cat and mouse type story. The pacing and writing immediately made me feel that I was reading a Philip Marlow novel, and the glitzy lives of the characters made this feel like The Big Sleep. Something sinister lurked beneath the surface littered with beautiful people and their manicured homes of Bel-Air, and that hook made each action Thomas took weighty and beguiling. The story started off when Thomas met a handful of wealthy and notably Hollywood heavyweights in furtherance of writing an article about a deceased studio head. He suddenly became their go to reporter on all press, which was complicated when one of the women in the group warned him about the high price he would pay for being around them.
His life changed when he accidentally went to the wrong home to cover a political party and ended up meeting the mysterious Matilda Duplaine. After an electric game of tennis, she warned him not to tell anyone about their meeting. Their chance encounter launched them into a clandestine love affair, filled with secret meetings and lies. Thomas unwittingly launched heart first into a true studio scandal, and his ignorance made him a credible character.
This was not just a love story and mystery, but an ode to classic Hollywood all wrapped in a beautiful bow. Although the story took place in the present, the author replaced cell phones with notes and keys to pay homage to 1950’s. I loved every page of this and cannot wait for more by this author!