Thank you NetGalley and Atheneum for providing an e-Arc in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Now too long ago, Lucille O’Malley was living in a tenement in New York. Now she’s Lulu Kelly, Hollywood’s newest It Girl. She may be a star, but she worries that her past will catch up with her. Back in New York she witnessed a Mafia murder, and this glamorous New life in Tinseltown is payment for her silence.
Dashing Freddie van Der Waals, the only son of a New York tycoon, was a playboy with the world at his feet. But when he discovered how his corrupt father really made the family fortune, Freddie abandoned his billions and became a vagabond. He travels the country in search of redemption and a new identity, but his father will stop at nothing to bring him home.
When fate brings Lulu and Freddie together, sparks fly–and gunshots follow. Suddenly Lulu finds herself framed for attempted murder. Together, she and Freddie set out to clear her name. But can they escape their pasts and finally find the Hollywood ending they long for?
According to the blurb put out by Simon & Schuster the collaborative team of film producer/director and coauthor Laura Sullivan were inspired to write this novel, by Nick and Nora Charles and old-style Hollywood glamour. In some ways Girl About Town does a perfect job capturing that essence, by the two main characters, Lulu and Freddie are virtually nothing more than cardboard cutouts which takes some of the sparkle out of what at times is a witty romantic comedy and mystery. To put it kindly, they’re both sweet but a bit ditzy, particularly Lulu. Neither of them really think before they act, which accounts for at least half of the problems they encounter. The narrative is split between them and this doesn’t allow for much in the way of character development. What does save this novel is the setting which draws you right into 1930s Hollywood with a scheming gossip columnist, stars leading scandalous secret lives, and beautifully described parties at Pickfair. There was some delicious name-dropping but it never got so that it was over-the-top. This was the part of the story that captured my attention. The mystery is interesting and had me second-guessing more than once as to the identity of the villain.
Reading this was like watching an old Hollywood movie, so in that respect this novel is a success. I just wish the authors had spent a little more time fleshing out their hero and heroine. In the end I think Girl Around Town is a charming and fluffy tale that will especially appeal to teens and fans of historical fiction and the glamour of old Hollywood.
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