Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Love Affair of Clark Gable and Loretta Young - All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani

Clark Gable and Loretta Young

The year was 1935, the golden age in Hollywood, and the beautiful actress Loretta Young was one of the top box office starletts. By this time, Loretta had already starred in dozens of movies. But it was her next film, CALL OF THE WILD, which would have the greatest impact on her life. It was on the set that she met Clark Gable. 

Loretta and Clark in Call of the Wild
At the time, of the filming, Clark Gable was married to Maria "Ria" Franklin Prentiss Lucas Langham. 


In 1998, for the first time, Loretta told the world about her relationship with Clark Gable and the secret love child she bore him. She said he had date raped her. Hollywood at the time had a strict code of conduct, a morality clause tightly built into each contact. Knowledge of her pregnancy by Gable would have resulted in a devastation of both of their careers. So Loretta kept her pregnancy a complete secret. Not an easy task when in the public eye. When the pregnancy began to show, and to have the child while keeping it hushed, she had to find an excuse for an extended absence. So covered in blankets, she gave an interview from her bed, citing her absence from movies was due to an illness she had suffered from since childhood.  She told reporters that she would leave for Europe. In reality, however, she and her mother moved into a house they owned in Venice, California. It was there that she gave birth to Judith Young on November 6, 1935. 

Loretta with Judith
After only three weeks, Loretta left Judith at St. Elizabeth's, an orphanage outside Los Angeles under the care of nuns. She remained there until she was 19 months old and her mother officially proclaimed to the world that she was adopting a child. Not everyone in Hollywood was confinced and rumors flew. Young took great care never to confirm or deny any of the rumors. Thus her secret remained a scret. That is, until 1999 when Loretta authorized an autobiography of her life and revealed the truth to the writer, Joan Wester Anderson. She confessed that Judy was her biological child and the product of Young having had a brief affair with Gable. Below is a clip of Judith's revelations about her past. 

Best selling author Adriana Trigiani has creatively reimagined the relationship between Loretta and Clark in a spectacular novel entitled ALL THE STARS IN THE HEAVENS.
Opening Sentences: A cold gust of wind sounded like a faraway train whistle as it blew through South Bend that morning. Winter had arrived early in Indiana, in the middle of October beneath a cloudless sky. There was proof of it everywhere. 

Synopsis: Adriana Trigiani, the New York Times bestselling author of the blockbuster epic The Shoemaker's Wife, returns with her biggest and boldest novel yet, a hypnotic tale based on a true story and filled with her signature elements: family ties, artistry, romance, and adventure. Born in the golden age of Hollywood, All the Stars in the Heavens captures the luster, drama, power, and secrets that could only thrive in the studio system—viewed through the lives of an unforgettable cast of players creating magic on the screen and behind the scenes.
In this spectacular saga as radiant, thrilling, and beguiling as Hollywood itself, Adriana Trigiani takes us back to Tinsel Town's golden age—an era as brutal as it was resplendent—and into the complex and glamorous world of a young actress hungry for fame and success. With meticulous, beautiful detail, Trigiani paints a rich, historical landscape of 1930s Los Angeles, where European and American artisans flocked to pursue the ultimate dream: to tell stories on the silver screen.
The movie business is booming in 1935 when twenty-one-year-old Loretta Young meets thirty-four-year-old Clark Gable on the set of The Call of the Wild. Though he's already married, Gable falls for the stunning and vivacious young actress instantly.
Far from the glittering lights of Hollywood, Sister Alda Ducci has been forced to leave her convent and begin a new journey that leads her to Loretta. Becoming Miss Young's secretary, the innocent and pious young Alda must navigate the wild terrain of Hollywood with fierce determination and a moral code that derives from her Italian roots. Over the course of decades, she and Loretta encounter scandal and adventure, choose love and passion, and forge an enduring bond of love and loyalty that will be put to the test when they eventually face the greatest obstacle of their lives.
Anchored by Trigiani's masterful storytelling that takes you on a worldwide ride of adventure from Hollywood to the shores of southern Italy, this mesmerizing epic is, at its heart, a luminous tale of the most cherished ties that bind. Brimming with larger-than-life characters both real and fictional—including stars Spencer Tracy, Myrna Loy, David Niven, Hattie McDaniel and more—it is it is the unforgettable story of one of cinema's greatest love affairs during the golden age of American movie making.


All the Stars in Heaven is a rich novel that sweeps the reader into the golden age of Hollywood. Numerous famous actors and actresses make an appearance in this tale. Young is a young actress who falls in love with Spencer Tracy. Among the famous personages is a young nun by the name of Alda who has her own tale to tell which is interwoven between the pages. 

The novel is on the longer side at approximately 450 pages, but well worth read. It is a well written tale with plenty of historical detail that is colored with the author's interpretation of Loretta Young's relationships. I could not help but fall in love with Clark Gable. Adriana writes him just as I imagined, a lovable, handsome rogue with plenty of humor and spirit, a womanizer, but one who is higly adorable. I fell in love with Clark Gable through and through. I was glad I read the book on my iPad Kindle app because I kept stopping to query photos of the people and places mentioned in the book. It helped cement the story in my mind while lending it a whole bunch of credence. 

There is a ton to like about this story. Never rushed, but vivid, I adored the story very much, even though I experienced a bit of sadness that Clark and Loretta were never meant to be. A very good novel to savor! This is the first time I've read a book by Adriana Trigiani, but I plan to read a bit more of her work. I defintely enjoyed her style of writing. 4.5 stars out of 5!

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