Published: April 16, 2019 by Gallery Books
Dates Read: April 15 – 16, 2019
Genre/Category: Historical Fiction
Read For: Gallery books/Goodreads ARC
City of Flickering Light is a tantalizing ride back to the 1920’s Hollywood and the booming silent film industry. It follows 3 characters as they escape a moving train and their stagnant careers in a burlesque show, finding their way to Hollywood in hopes of making it big. Irene, Millie and Henry are bright eyed and optimistic when they land at their destination, but they are not prepared for the hardship, destitution, starvation and shortage of work they are confronted with upon arrival. As each of them struggle to find their own way, they quickly learn the shocking and detractive ways behind Hollywoods’s closed doors, and how to navigate amongst them, all while trying to be true to who they are and their friendship.
I found this to be a nice change in the historical fiction genre for me, I was in the midst of a WW2 burnout, (because that’s what all historical fiction seems to be written about) and this book was a pleasant surprise. There was a nice flow to the way it was written and it kept my interest. Initially I felt it was going to be more of a quaint and whimsical story, but there was a lot more to it than I expected. The plot delves into the behind the scenes secrets to Hollywood in the 1920’s, the things that were hidden or covered up, considered taboo, or frowned upon in the public eye. The author clearly put a lot of time and research into this novel, and although the story itself was fictional, her characters were inspired by real life characters and events. (See Authors Note at end of Novel). I found that what I initially expected to be more of a lighthearted read turned into a very grabbing novel with some dark undertones that I could not put down. This is a sneak peak into the start of a very mysterious and hidden world, just enough to make the reader want to want to continue down the “rabbit hole” that is the Golden Age of Hollywood.
I give this a good solid 3 ½ stars. I liked this novel, and I would recommend reading it, I would call it a good beach read. It is entertaining and interesting, but doesn’t make your head hurt. You won’t find yourself thinking about this one long after you’re done, and sometimes that’s exactly the kind of book you are looking for.
Thank you to Galley Books and to Goodreads for the ARC for an unbiased and honest review.