Under A Texas Sky by Dorothy Garlock
Grand Central Publishing, August 2013
$30.00, hb, 370pp
Review copy provided by the publisher for review in the November 2013 Historical Novel Society magazine which really ended up just being an online exclusive anyway.
Burton Book Review Rating:
Growing up poor and largely abandoned on the streets of 1920s Chicago, Anna Finnegan has struggled her entire life. Until a talent manager discovers her and brings her into the world of theater. Now years later she's about to start shooting her first movie. Arriving on location in Redstone, Texas, in 1932, Anna steps off the train and collides into Dalton Barnes. He's lived in Redstone all his life and hates how the big city out-of-towners are gawking at the small-town locals like him. It doesn't take long, though, for Anna and Dalton to discover fireworks of a different sort between them. But the movie is plagued by one trouble after another, including a fire that destroys an elaborate set and costumes ruined by huge splashes of paint. Who is sabotaging the film and why? To what lengths will they go? When Anna finds herself threatened, how will she and the love blossoming between her and Dalton survive?
Starting off as what seems to be a rags to riches story turns into a suspenseful romance with the heroine Anna who is introduced as a young girl living in poverty in Chicago. Fast forward to the 1930's and Anna is being cast in a new movie that is set in Texas trying to make it big in the industry. Anna deals with jealous actresses and lecherous men while on the set, but she meets a local blacksmith, Dalton Barrnes who has already formed a negative opinion of all the Hollywood types swarming his hometown. It's a touch of western romance with a large dose of cynical characters and themes, but throughout the novel we are rooting for Anna and Dalton to survive the dirty dealings of those around them.
There are plenty of villains and suspects so that the mystery wasn't easily apparent, and overall this latest novel of the prolific Dorothy Garlock makes a quick read for readers of historical romance, but doesn't stand out as one of her best.
I had read one of her other novels, and it seems that the novels are pretty standard fare. The other novel I read of hers last year was Come A Little Closer (review here). After reading that review, I hardly remember what the story was about. And this is pretty much the same kinda thing.. which is why the original review didn't quite make it to the magazine I reviewed it for and was just a sad little Online Exclusive.