Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Book Review: The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine

By Alex Brunkhorst
Published by Mira
Available in paperback and ebook

Alex Brunkhorst’s debut novel, The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine, delves into the glamorous life of Bel Air and its residents. There are secrets simmering under the surface of glitter, parties, and expensive houses and these are about to be revealed…

Reporter Thomas Cleary has moved to LA to escape the drama of his old life in New York, recently disgraced at work, and with a broken heart, he has come out west for a quiet life. But an interview with the daughter of a recently deceased film director opens up a world of luxury and glamour, full of opportunities. He stubbles upon a girl, on his way to a glamorous party,. The mysterious Matilda, a recluse, locked away in her father’s mansion turns Thomas’s life upside down.

Secrets and lies hidden by privileged people reminded me of The Great Gatsby and Marisha Pessl’s Night Film. Tightly wrapped secrets linger on the sidelines, tempting Cleary to dig deeper and find out if his new friends are really who they say they are. These people, the complete opposite of Cleary ‘s modest background, manipulate their power to achieve what they want. This hold over other people intrigues Cleary, and sets him off into the investigation of a life time but he doesn’t count on the fact that he is falling in love with Matilda.

The mystery and intrigue in this novel echoes the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Brunkhorst, like Hitchcock, explores the theme of identity and how people create personas for the public as well as creating a private persona to also hid away the person who stares back at them from the mirror.

Brunkhorst reveals the truth slowly, but keeps the intrigue on each page to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Something is not right, and Cleary is determined to see beyond the sparkle and expensive gifts to find out what this close-knit community are hiding.

This noir novel is an absorbing read, which slowly unravels, revealing that these people are acting even once the cameras are switched off.

You can buy The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine from your favourite bookshop.

I was sent a copy by the publisher.

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