Romantic and moody, this tale of love and privilege takes us into the world of the Hollywood establishment, and has a wonderfully intriguing mystery at its centre. We were completely transported by Alex Brunkhorst’s evocative descriptions of the opulent Los Angeles estates where much of the book is set. And she should know: when she’s not writing, she’s a real estate agent specialising in multimillion-dollar estates for Los Angeles’ wealthiest professionals!
Thomas Cleary is a struggling young journalist from a working class background. When he’s sent to dig up quotes for the obituary of a legendary film producer, the man’s eccentric antique-dealer daughter, Lily Goldman, invites him to dinner with friends.
Lily’s friends hale from the very upper echelons of Hollywood society: a studio head, a record-label owner, a glamorous actress. We loved the acutely observed quirks of these wealthy characters – Lily, for example, wears ivory because ‘diamonds could still be bought on the open market; elephant tusks could not.’
Thomas is quickly given access to elite events and influential connections and his career begins to take off. The group are generous to a fault. But what is it they expect of him?
Then Thomas meets Matilda Duplaine. Brilliantly clever, but child-like, Matilda has never left the lush Bel-Air estate where she lives. Thomas is enchanted and they quickly begin a love affair. But how will Matilda react to the outside world? Who exactly is she, and what’s the secret behind her cloistered life? Thomas can’t resist investigating, although in doing so he runs the risk of destroying everything.
After working in finance and talent management, author Alex Brunkhorst is now a high-end real estate agent and runs a website about luxury living called bungalux.com . The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine is her second novel, and she says it was ‘inspired by many of my friends who, unlike me, live truly gilded lives, and my crush on a boy I only saw on Sundays.’
The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine is an absorbing, delicious – and often poignant – read. The mystery of Matilda’s identity and Thomas’ emotional dilemma will keep you turning the pages and have you desperate to share and discuss with other readers.
More praise for The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine:
“Pitched as a ‘modern day Gatsby tale’ this book tells the story of young working class journalist Thomas Cleary, who stumbles into the world of Hollywood society. He’s mingling with the rich and famous, a world of mansions and private jets, and then he meets Matilda Duplaine, a 19-year-old beauty who has never left her Bel Air estate. There’s mystery, romance and insights into the world of the uber-rich and famous. It’s the reason behind Matilda’s gilded life that keeps you reading. Pack it in your holiday suitcase and escape.” – The Sydney Morning Herald.