The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine by Alex Brunkhorst

Something special
Something special

TB Published by Harlequin/Mira UK, 8th Oct 2015, 336 pages, £7.99

Quick description: a mysterious love story, a modern Great Gatsby.

Steam?: more sweet than steamy.

Plot: Family secrets. Forbidden love. And the true price of wealth.

Thomas is a small-town boy and when Lily invites him to a dinner party, he gains access to the exclusive upper echelons of Hollywood society. As he enters a world of private jets and sprawling mansions, his life and career take off beyond his wildest dreams.

Then he meets Matilda Duplaine.

Beautiful and mysterious, Matilda has spent her entire life within the walls of her powerful father’s Bel-Air estate and Thomas is immediately entranced by her. But what starts as an enchanted romance soon threatens to destroy their lives and the lives of everyone around them.

It is a real pleasure to be able to review novels like this. At first it was the unusual title and striking cover that drew me into requesting a copy from Mira UK. After reading the first few chapters I knew this was something quite special. I think this is a great debut. The writing is so lovely and poetic. It is very delicate and sensitive to the fine details of environment and characters.

It is likened to The Great Gatsby, which is one of my favorite novels of all time (so I was also interested because of that), and I agree. I do notice many echoes to the classic. Thomas Cleary is a shy, hardworking, mid-western young man who seems to stumble into a whole new world of class and wealth. But instead of being in East Egg Island, like Nick Carraway, we are in LA Hollywood. We see the never ending beauty and glitz bouncing off of Thomas’s enchanted POV, but also glimpse the dark cracks within the group that takes him in. The book doesn’t have the numbing melancholy that Gatsby has, but it is punctuated with bitter moments. Its pretty much the old- the rich are actually deeply unhappy because of things that cannot be brought. I like to indulge in messed up rich characters.

The mystery of who Matilda was and the secrets that had been buried years ago, really kept me reading at full pace. It was the sort of- reading late into the night and first thing in the morning- type. And Matilda as a character is really quite unique. A girl who has never left the confines of a luxury estate? Talk about messed up really. And Thomas himself. We begin to realize he is not the perfect gentlemanly man he himself prides in, he also has many imperfections like Nick. But both characters progress and move forward with a (sort of) happy ending (depends the way you look at it, and also don’t want to give any spoilers).

Simply special.


Thank you Cara Thompson from Mira UK for my review copy xx


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