Review – Carla J. Hanna’s Starlet’s Web
The book is written from the point of view of Liana, or Lia to her family, who is seventeen and going through all the angsts of a typical seventeen year old girl – love, life and lipstick. Or she should be… however, she is not a typical seventeen year old girl. She is Marie Michael, the award winning child actress, nominated for an Oscar for her role in the Muse films. Since the age of 14, as well as all the usual teenage traumas, she has had to cope with the stresses of papparazzi, having fake relationships and real break ups in the glare of the public eye.
The book takes us through five months in her life from another fake breakup with a co-star who needs to further his career and can do so better “single”, through career and personal issues, through the awards season (the “Uary months”), her 18th birthday and her final exams, to an ending in May of the same year that finds her filled with hope but, at the same time, uncertainty for the future. Along the way she accepts that she has to find a way to cope with being the “web” for the spiders (the film companies) to catch the flies (the adoring public), she has to deal with professional jealousies and personal betrayals beyond anything she could have comprehended and she finds love at a time when she needs it most.
I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. The characters are all incredibly well written and engaging, even the minor characters in the story. Although a lot of the situations were unfamiliar to me, I’m not really one for “celebrity culture” I found it easy to empathise with the real life lessons that Lia/Marie had to learn. The book is also very well paced with each event following on naturally from the last. We also learn a lot about her back-story, the history of how she got into acting in the first place and what her family situation is. This was very well integrated and didn’t feel forced or awkward.
Starlet’s Web works really well as a stand-alone book, tying up enough loose ends while still leaving room for continuation, and I’ll be interested to see how the next books in the series follow on. If the sample excerpt of book 2 at the end of the Kindle version I read is anything to go by, I’m looking forward to more of the same.
**** 4 STARS!