The Cinema at Starlight Creek (Alli Sinclair) – book review

The Cinema at Starlight Creek by Alli Sinclair is a dual timeline book that hooked me (especially that gorgeous cover). I’ve been a fan of Alli’s since her first book and I’ve especially enjoyed her most recent books set in Australia. To me, she’s also going from strength to strength.

Here’s the blurb:

How far would you go to follow your dream?

Queensland, 1994: When location manager Claire Montgomery arrives in rural Queensland to work on a TV mini-series, she’s captivated by the beauty of Starlight Creek and the surrounding sugarcane fields. Working in a male-dominated industry is challenging, but Claire has never let that stop her pursuing her dreams-until now. She must gain permission to film at Australia’s most historically significant art deco cinema, located at Starlight Creek. But there is trouble ahead. The community is fractured and the cinema’s reclusive owner, Hattie Fitzpatrick, and her enigmatic great nephew, Luke Jackson, stand in her way, putting Claire’s career-launching project-and her heart-at risk.

Hollywood, 1950: Lena Lee has struggled to find the break that will catapult her into a star with influence. She longs for roles about strong, independent women but with Hollywood engulfed in politics and a censorship battle, Lena’s timing is wrong. Forced to keep her love affair with actor Reeves Garrity a secret, Lena puts her career on the line to fight for equality for women in an industry ruled by men. Her generous and caring nature steers her onto a treacherous path, leaving Lena questioning what she is willing to endure to get what she desires.

Can two women-decades apart-uncover lies and secrets to live the life they’ve dared to dream?

The Cinema at Starlight Creek is a story of choices, of hindrances, of dreams, secrets and lies. But above all, it’s about courage, as two women in two different times follow their dreams in the male-dominated film industry. In the 1950s, Lena dreams of being a Hollywood star, but learns that her career comes with a price. Is it too much to pay? In 1994, Claire dreams of making documentaries and when she stumbles across a beautifully preserved but unused art deco cinema, she sees her chance. But like Lena, she learns that success can come at a cost.

Two strong female leads took this story into my heart and reminded me that passion projects might come with hurdles, but hurdles are meant to be leapt over.

Thanks to HarperCollins for an ARC of this book. The Cinema at Starlight Creek is available from 20 May 2019.

Monique Mulligan
For more of Monique Mulligan’s writing on books, check out her blog

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