Twenty-First Century Books

The Forgotten Lies

I stayed in the Thirties, with my library book, with more people trying to reinvent themselves, with The Forgotten Lies by Kerry Jamieson.

It was a dustier setting, being in Hollywood, with three contract-actresses for Warner Brothers’ Studios: aging Verbena (28), still trying to win her break-out role; bit-part Ivy (25), who’s got a political beau and thinking of marriage and children anyway; and newbie starlet Charlotte, trying to forget her past. There’s also their maid Allegra, recently arrived from Mexico, with dreams of her own.

And then the role of a life-time turns up, playing Rahab opposite current leading-man Liam Malone’s Joshua. And these women weren’t friends to begin with. And Verbena is particularly upset when Charlotte, now renamed Carlie (Charlotte’s far too English), wins the role.

Naturally, perhaps, Liam, respectably married and father of 6, and Carlie begin an affair.

This was not a book which had me reading into the wee hours, though I was more than happy to pick it up in my spare moments. I enjoyed it, in the way that I didn’t actively dislike it. It gave me a different picture of the period I like so much, a darker picture in some ways, though I wasn’t blind to the darkness before. But it was warm and sunny and dusty, despite the darkness beneath.

But secrets don’t remain secrets forever, not in Hollywood, not even in the Thirties, before smartphones and personal cameras.

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