A Tale of Unexpected Friendship and Old Hollywood Glamour
Lauren Summers is hiding. Her fashion house internship should have launched her career, but a red carpet accident has left her blackballed. The only job she finds is unpaid, but comes with free lodging--a run-down cottage in the shadow of a cliff-side mansion. Unsure of what comes next, she's surprised to be contacted by a reporter researching a reclusive former Hollywood ingénue who lives in the nearby mansion.
Kendall Joiner wants Lauren's help uncovering the old woman's secrets. In return, she'll prove the red carpet accident was a publicity stunt so Lauren can regain her former job. With all her dreams in front of her, Lauren's tempted by the offer, but as she and the old woman get to know each other, Lauren realizes nothing is quite as it seems.
Lauren Summers is a talented fashion designer on the rise, but a fluke wardrobe malfunction on the runway brings an abrupt end to her hopes of a career in fashion. With paparazzi questioning her and her bosses and clients turning on her, Lauren runs to Santa Barbara, Calif., where she gets a job making costumes for a school play. The job comes with a rent-free cottage in a secluded neighborhood, but when Lauren realizes that it is a fixer-upper right next to the home of Charlotte Montgomery, an unpleasant and mysterious older woman, she doubts it is really part of God's plan. Despite all Lauren's efforts to make friends with her, Charlotte likes to keep herself and her past a secret. When Kendall Joiner, a hard-core reporter, comes to Lauren with information regarding the culprit behind the wardrobe malfunction, she promises Lauren will get her old job back. Kendall, however, wants information regarding Charlotte. Cushman (Finding Me) brings realism and depth to Lauren's economic, career, and ethical struggles. After considering Kendall's proposal, Lauren realizes she is more like Charlotte than she believed and is unwilling to hurt the friendship that does not yet exist. Cushman's (Finding Me) talent is spectacular in this heartening story of putting others first.
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Well-written and engaging novel!
Fading Starlight is the latest novel by Kathryn Cushman. Lauren Summers has recently graduated from fashion institute and was fortunate enough to get picked for an internship with Deb Couture. Lauren was flattered to be picked to design a dress for Marisa Remington (an actress) who wants to look more grownup than her mother and managers want her to be. Lauren oversaw design and final alterations to dress for the VMA’s. Lauren is watching the award show on television and is shocked when there is an “accident” with the dress. The dress breaks open to expose the actress’ undergarments (we all know who staged the so called accident). Deb Couture immediately closes ranks and blames it on Lauren. Lauren is fired (of course) and blackballed in the industry. Lauren’s mentor, Professor Navarro finds a job for her to do that also comes with a place to stay (out of town). Lauren will work on the costumes for a high school theatrical production of Camelot (Lauren’s specialty is historical clothing) in Santa Barbara. The place to live is being provided by Ralph Edwards. The community has very, very strict rules (such as not taking pictures, sticking to walking paths, valuing each other’s privacy). Mr. Edwards needs someone on site while construction is being carried out (a rule). The owner of the nearby Victorian, though, is not happy with the new addition to the neighborhood. Charlotte Montgomery is a recluse and values her privacy. Lauren is happy to have the beautiful place to live and some work. But she wants to be able to clear her name. Then Lauren is approached by Kendall Joiner, a reporter. She will help Lauren clear her name (already has some helpful information on Marisa’s deception) in exchange for information on Charlotte Montgomery. Lauren reluctantly agrees. But over the summer she slowly gets to know Charlotte and her housekeeper, Frances Brown. Will Lauren be able to hold up her end of the bargain? Is Lauren willing to compromise her values to clear her name?
Fading Starlight was a good novel. I was immediately engaged and kept reading until the end. The sabotage was easy to figure out, but I enjoyed the other elements at play in the book. I liked the characters and the beautiful setting (I wanted to live in the community). Fading Starlight had a good pace that made it easy and enjoyable to read. The book is well-written and contained a nice life lesson. I give Fading Starlight 4.5 out of 5 stars. There were a couple of slow areas (mostly when character is thinking). I just told you a little about what transpired in the book. There is much more (a mystery of sorts). I look forward to reading Kathryn Cushman’s in the future (and I will be checking out her other published novels).
I received a complimentary copy of Fading Starlight in exchange for an honest evaluation of the novel.