Culture Street

By Sophia Whitfield

Daisy Waugh was always destined to be a writer. Her grandfather, Evelyn Waugh, wrote about the Roaring Twenties in Vile Bodies. Daisy Waugh follows suit, but takes her story away from Britain as she looks at the Roaring Twenties in Hollywood. With The Great Gatsby on everyone’s lips, Waugh’s book is certain to gain an avid readership for all its glamour and splendour.

The novel opens with the darling couple of Hollywood throwing their annual October Supper Party. Max and Eleanor Beecham are the toast of Hollywood society. Eleanor is an ethereal, secretive beauty who has graced the silver screen and together with her husband Max they make up a power couple in the movie industry. Max is adept at wining and dining Hollywood’s power brokers. At tonight’s party he is keen to tempt the decision makers with his latest nautical themed movie, Lost at Sea.

But behind this elegant couple lurks a dark secret. Their lives have not always been draped in success and wealth. They have hidden their past from all in an attempt to begin a new life. Years later with Eleanor’s career in a lull and Max unable to muster interest for his latest movie, they are at rock bottom.

As their careers crash so does the stock market taking with it the wealth they have worked so hard to accrue. With their relationship now in tatters Max and Eleanor accept an invitation to Hearst Castle where the prohibited champagne will be flowing and the cream of Hollywood will be gathering. Eleanor and Max are determined to try one last time to reinvigorate their careers.

Harkening back to 1920s glamour, the Hearst Castle gathering is both opulent and absurd. Real life movie stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Greta Garbo make an appearance as Waugh delves further into the Golden Age of Hollywood. In the company of fellow stars and gossip columnists, Max and Eleanor must decide whether to embrace their past or move on in pursuit of their hard earned careers.

A sumptuous book that depicts the Roaring Twenties in its heyday. Thoroughly researched and beautifully written.

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