All the Stars in the Heavens
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
People's Book of the Week
Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards Nominee for Fiction
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.
Praise for All the Stars in the Heavens:
"Trigiani spins a tale of star-crossed lovers... A heartwarming tale of women's lives behind the movies." -Kirkus Reviews
"A thoroughly entertaining tale that brings Hollywood's golden age alive." -People
"A tinsel-trimmed treat for movie buffs and Trigiani fans alike." -Library Journal
Praise For All the Stars in the Heavens: A Novel…
— Kirkus Reviews
“Trigiani is a master of palpable and visual detail.”
— Washington Post
“If you’re meeting her work for the first time, get ready for a lifelong love affair.”
— Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help
“Delightful, energetic. . . . Trigiani is a seemingly effortless storyteller.”
— Boston Globe
“The author’s impeccable research and lush writing style recreates a plausible day-to-day look into the actress’s life as a staunch Catholic living and working in Hollywood... Eminently readable and richly imagined, Trigiani’s latest will thrill her fans and surely collect new ones.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Trigiani re-creates the golden age of Hollywood with the same rich, sumptuous detail that distinguished The Shoemaker’s Wife. Her ability to breathe life into the luminous cast of characters will captivate readers, then have them scouring Netflix for film classics of the 1930s. A tinsel-trimmed treat.”
— Library Journal
Trigiani gives heart to the facts and fiction of Hollywood, and in doing so she brings life to characters we’ve only known from the motion pictures, TV screen and radio. Her book is fiction, but the story is universal.
— Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, MS)
Harper Paperbacks, 9780062319203, 480pp.
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
About the Author
Adriana Trigiani is the New York Times bestselling author of eighteen books in fiction and nonfiction, published in 38 languages, making her one of the most sought after speakers in the world of books today. Adriana is an award-winning playwright, and writer/director in film and television. Adriana co-founded The Origin Project, an in-school writing program which serves over 1,700 students in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. Adriana hosts a weekly Facebook Live show, Adriana Ink, every Tuesday evening at 6 PM EST featuring guest authors, giveaways and more. Follow along with Adriana on Facebook and Instagram @AdrianaTrigiani. Adriana lives in New York City with her family.
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. What characteristics make Loretta so successful beyond the typical “life span” of an actress in this age of Hollywood? In what ways is she the “modern woman” that Alda considers her to be?
2. How does the time and place—the Golden Age of Hollywood—affect Loretta’s relationship with Clark Gable? What are the standards that are set and why? What is it in this setting that makes it so compelling? How would the circumstances change if their relationship took place in modern times? Would a story like this be as spellbinding and compelling in Hollywood today?
3. Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable play very different roles in Loretta’s life, despite both being her love interests. How does each of them affect Loretta’s personal growth? To what degree does her relationship with Spencer influence her later relationship with Clark? Loretta says her biggest regret is not marrying Clark Gable. Do you agree or disagree?
4. Though Alda and Loretta come from very different backgrounds, they work well together. How does Alda’s upbringing and history prepare her for a life as Loretta’s secretary? What values do they share? In contrast, how does Loretta’s view on the nature of love differ from Alda’s?
5. Despite their feelings for one another, Loretta and Clark can’t make their relationship work. What stands in their way? What do you think draws Loretta to Clark? Do you think that Clark’s love for Loretta was something more meaningful to him than any of the other romances/marriages he indulged in?
6. In Padua, Loretta experiences the making of grappa with Signore Ducci. He says to her, “Grappa is life. You use everything to make it, all the things that no one wants, that no one can use, we use. Everything in life, whether sweet or bitter, ends up in the glass—a mix of.” How would you apply this metaphor to Loretta’s life, specifically?
7. “Loretta” is a stage name; her given name is Gretchen. Only those closest to her call her by her given name, and as a public figure, she has somewhat of a double persona. How is her true self different from how she is perceived by the masses?
8. Loretta is a devout Catholic. How does her faith inform her major life decisions?
9. Why do you think Alda felt the need to tell Luca about her past, despite Loretta’s advice?
10. Motherhood plays a significant role in this story. How does Loretta’s relationship with Gladys influence her choices as a mother to Judy? Why do you think Alda never adopted children?