As an author myself, I have to admit it is difficult to find a book that holds my interest because I am so doggone critical! (I hate that about myself, I truly do!) "Stars in the Night", HOWEVER, fascinated me from front to back, and I'm not kidding. I have shelves and shelves of books on my TBR pile and only time to read when I go to bed. Usually I allow myself about a half hour a night for novel reading, but Ms. Putman's book utterly hooked me so that I found myself staying up way past what's normal for me just so I could finish it. I love classic movies and a good mystery, so this book perfectly suited me. I told my daughter about it, and now she plans to read it too. I must say I am eagerly awaiting another Cara Putman novel, as I'm quite certain it will hold me prisoner just as "Stars" did!
I read this book quickly, though it didn't grab me like I had hoped it would. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that I'm not a big fan of movie stars from the 1940s, and I don't watch old movies. Never have. The plot was very forward-moving, but the characterization fell flat for me. I don't feel like I ever got to know Audra's heart.The romantic element also seemed more like a minor subplot (or an afterthought) than an underlying theme to me, which is how I classify romance novels in my mind. The romance drives the story. In this book it didn't. I kept hoping things would perk up between them, but just when a spark started, it was over. This book was strong on plot, but not so much in romance or character development. That said, on to other positives...The plot for this book was interesting, and I didn't know who the bad guy was (I loved that), or when the murders would end (that upped the suspense.) I really like it when a book keeps me guessing. That proves it's a well-developed mystery, and this book has that aspect nailed. Thankfully, the murder scenes weren't gruesome, and if anything, they were overly tame. Again, the mystery embedded in the storyline was probably the best aspect of this book. Bummer is I'm not a huge mystery fan either. The author obviously knows how to develop a plot. I guess the fact that I never really felt anything for the characters made the story not resonate with me on an emotional level like I had anticipated it would. What turns my crank when I'm reading a book is deep point of view. I want to be inside the character's head, not just an observer. That said, I'd recommend this novel for people who enjoy a solid historical mystery. If you enjoyed Songbird Under a German Moon, you'll love this story because it has a very similar feel to it.
Enter "Stars in the Night" and step into a world of Hollywood glamour in the 1940's as Audra travels from Indiana to check up on her little sister Rosemary. Call it a hunch but Audra is concerned when Rosemary doesn't call home like she should. She arrives in Hollywood and her instinct is correct, there is a dead body in Rosemary's apartment, but who is it and where is Rosemary? Audra can't leave until she knows what is going on and where Rosemary is, so she is sucked deeper into the Hollywood world as bodies start piling up. She takes on a job with the 2nd Hollywood Victory Caravan, filled with B list celebrities going on a cross country train tour to entertain and sell war bonds just so she can learn more about the people Rosemary knows. But now has she put herself on the very train that the killer is on? Cara has such an incredible handle on WWII history and it was so cool to see that open up into Hollywood (she has previously written a WWII series set in Nebraska and a WWII series set in Ohio). I learned a lot I didn't know historically, including the fact that there really was a 1st Hollywood Victory Caravan with lots of amazing stars on it, but Cara fictionalized the 2nd one for the sake of the book. On top of that, I enjoyed the mystery/suspense in this book as I tried to figure out the killer before it was revealed (I did pretty well, but it isn't spelled out for you, you have to use your head). Great stand alone book from Cara C. Putman and Summerside Press' new line of historical books.
Stars in the Night by Cara Putnam is a terrific WWII romantic thriller. Audra Schaeffer has always been the sister with her feet firmly on the ground in contrast to sister Rosie who has left their family home in Indiana for the bright lights of Hollywood. When Rosie fails to make her weekly phone call home, Audra has a feeling that something is terribly wrong. On this instinct, she flies all the way to California only to discover that Rosie is missing. After meeting handsome actor Robert Garfield on the plane out, she feels he may be the only one in town she can trust. Eventually Audra ends up on a train tour across the country with a list of Hollywood's finest in hopes of discovering the truth about what happened to Rosie, but her investigation may put all of their lives at risk. Robert and Audra have terrific chemistry and on occasion their repartee sparkles like that of movies of the era. The Murder on the Orient Express-esque tour is filled with colorful characters who keep the reader guessing. The only flaw is that the motive behind the murders seems a bit flimsy. That said, Putnam could easily make a fantastic series of Robert and Audra solving mysteries in Hollywood in the vein of The Thin Man. I hope she continues writing in this era and uses the characters again.
Glitz and glamour, along with the seedy side of film-making comprises the background of this interesting story set in 1942. Audra Schaeffers younger sister, Rosemary, fails to make her scheduled weekly call home to report on her new life in Hollywood. This sets off a trail of events when Audra decides to investigate and travels to California, only to discover a body in her sister's apartment! To complicate matters, Rosemary has disappeared. I enjoyed reading about classic Hollywood's gala affairs, and B-list stars struggles to "make it." A look back into the history of the Victory Caravan cross-country train trip to sell war bonds allows this reader to understand how such a show might come together. There's a twist, however, when this fictional star-studded train trip reveals a killer on board! Panic ensues as bodies are discovered, but the show must go on. Although I did not figure out the identity of the killer, the ending is disappointingly hurried. It felt as if the author was rushing to meet a deadline. Check it out and decide for yourself. Thank you to Bonnie at Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Summertime Press for my copy.