The Gilded Life of Matilda Dupliane is a slightly whimsical, enchanted, but ultimately, an impossible love story, which will gives you a tiny glimpse into the lives of the ultra- wealthy, and powerful of Bel -Air.
When journalist, Thomas Cleary, is assigned to write a piece over a recently deceased Hollywood mogul, he attempts to interview the man’s daughter, Lily. Lily invites Thomas to a dinner party, where he will find himself regaled with stories about Joel Goldman. But, Lily seems to have taken a shine to Thomas, and so a door opens for him, where he accidentally encounters Matilda Duplaine, a young lady locked away in an ivory tower her entire life. Thomas is instantly smitten, but of course the rich and powerful play games by a different set of rules…
“It was that time in a relationship when all you wanted was the next time. You wanted the event to come in a hurry, and you imagined it would be so dazzling it would glow in the dark. The world was full of possibility.”
Thomas stumbled across a huge secret, a Hollywood scandal of epic proportions, and spends most of the story trying to sort out the mystery. But, when he finally does, it’s seemingly too late to rectify the damage. The door may close on him in many ways, but other avenues open up for him as a result, making this a bittersweet tale.
“Instead, as we drove through the hills, I couldn’t help but think about that dangerous time in a relationship when it teeters on the precipice of disaster. I felt like a bystander on the sidewalk watching two cars about to collide, a coach seeing an interception before his tight end did. I knew things were about to go very wrong, but I was standing on the sidelines, helpless to stop it.”
This story has been compared, to some extent, to Gatsby, and I can see where that class division comes into play, as well as the foreboding that the relationship between Thomas and Matilda is doomed from the start, that Matilda couldn’t grasp the basic concepts of a relationship, having been wrapped up in her own world all her life. However, the comparisons stop there, because comparing this contemporary tale to a great literary masterpiece is taking things a touch too far. So, if you see the comparisons in the blurb, just take that with a grain of salt, because I think you will enjoy the writing in this one, but you shouldn’t expect it to measure up to F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Ultimately, this story is more of a cautionary tale, one that reminds us that all that glitters isn’t gold.
Like Thomas, we watch events unfold, sitting in the stadium stands, seeing the tragedy coming, but with no way to warn those involved.
Although, we know from the start that the happy ever after Thomas is hoping for won’t come to fruition, at least not in the way he imagines, that he is headed for a fall, we watch him learn some wonderful, but painful, and valuable lessons, and yet, this experience will set him on a new path in life, and maybe, just maybe, his love for the elusive Matilda Duplaine will conquer all in the end. One can at least hope...
This is a wonderfully written novel of contemporary fiction with a light mystery included. As long as you know going in what to expect, it is a good story, maybe a touch ambitious, but, it is an easy, fast read, that will impress you, leaving you to ponder upon the story long after you turned the final page.
The story begins with a dinner party invitation…
When young journalist Thomas Cleary is sent to dig up quotes for the obituary of a legendary film producer, the man's eccentric daughter offers him entrée into the exclusive upper echelons of Hollywood society. A small-town boy with working-class roots, Thomas is a stranger in this opulent world of private jets and sprawling mansions.
Then he meets Matilda Duplaine.
Matilda is a beautiful and mysterious young woman who has never left the lush Bel-Air estate where she was raised. Thomas is immediately entranced by the enigmatic girl, and the two begin a secret love affair. But what starts as an enchanted romance soon unravels a web of secrets and lies that could destroy their lives—and the lives of everyone around them—forever.
A modern-day Gatsby tale filled with unforgettable characters and charm, The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine is a sparkling love letter to Los Angeles and a captivating journey beyond the golden gates of its most glamorous estates. Timeless, romantic and utterly absorbing, it is a mesmerizing tale of privilege, identity and the difficult choices we make in the pursuit of power.