This book was sent to Traveling With T for review consideration.
Velva Jean Hart- free-spirited war heroine. When returning for war in 1945, she is filmed reuniting with her brother, Johnny Clay, and soon after returning to her family home….. Hollywood comes a-knocking…. literally. The Hollywood folks saw the news reel footage and realized that Velva Jean has the charisma, the charm, and the looks to be someone in Hollywood. Velva Jean has dreamed of being a singer, not a movie star- but after finding out that she can take singing lessons- she decides to head to Hollywood to see all that glitter herself.
Arriving in Hollywood, Velva Jean is reunited with her friend, Mudge, who is known in Hollywood as Barbara. Barbara takes her under her wing and guides her through the maze of Hollywood- the ins and outs. Shortly after arriving in town, Velva Jean is re-named as Kit Rogers. As close as Kit and Barbara were- Kit soon realizes that there are many things about Barbara that she does not know.
When Barbara dies at a Hollywood party- a party where there are many suspects- and Kit finds out the lengths that MGM will go to keep the details of Barbara’s death under wraps. Kit knows that it’s up to her to find out who hurt Barbara- even as the Hollywood bigwigs attempt to force Kit from digging deeper.
Will Kit find out what happened to Barbara? Or will that be a Hollywood mystery that goes unsolved?
Traveling With T’s Thoughts
First things first- when I was contacted about AMERICAN BLONDE, I didn’t realize that it was part of a series. So, when my copy arrived- and I saw blurbs from previous books- I wasn’t sure if not reading the other books would affect my enjoyment of AMERICAN BLONDE or not. Jennifer Niven started off AMERICAN BLONDE slowly- catching the reader up on previous works in the Velva Jean series.
For the first 100 or so pages- things are slightly interesting. The story is a bit slow and I’m really wanting to get to the meat and the potatoes of the story- the friend dying! And that, my friends, is when the book changes. I’d been kind of ho-hum about the book before then- wavering between taking a break from it or continuing- when the mysterious death and the coverup happened- well…… I was curious. I wanted to know what happened to Barbara. I wanted to know if our Velva Jean could solve the mystery or if it would remain a Hollywood mystery. I do wish that it hadn’t taken a 100+ pages for me to start to feel this way, though, because I wonder if other readers will continue reading or give up before the books gets to that good point of the story.
So.. do you need to read the other Velva Jean books to enjoy AMERICAN BLONDE? No, not really. Although, I am curious about some of the other Velva Jean stories.
Looking for stories about Hollywood’s Golden Age? Like a free-spirited heroine? Try AMERICAN BLONDE.
Final thoughts: Overall, it’s got enough good about the storyline to make it an enjoyable read, even though it did have a slow start. I liked Velva Jean’s spunk- she could have taken the easy road and just not tried to find out what happened to Barbara. But her spunk, her free-spirit, her character would not let her take the easy way out. Based on AMERICAN BLONDE, I am curious enough about the Velva Jean character to potentially read the backlist and future Velva Jean stories.
*Thanks to Plume Books for sending Traveling With T a copy of AMERICAN BLONDE for review consideration. All thoughts and opinions are mine alone.
Happy Reading and Bookishly Yours,
T @ Traveling With T