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Saturday, December 1, 2018

Castle on Sunset by Shawn Levy *(NetGalley)

The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, and Scandal at Hollywood's Chateau Marmont
Castle on Sunset
  Life, Death, Love, Art, and Scandal
      at Hollywood's Chateau Marmont

by Shawn Levy
384 Pages
May 7 2019
Double Day

My Review:

Built as an apartment complex in 1929, then the Great Depression hit, and the European styled monstrosity became a hide-a-way for Hollywood A lister's. Every "room" is a complete living area, gorgeous and littered with antiques. Personality. That's the word that comes to mind to describe this hotel. Loaded with personality.

You're probably thinking "Uh, I don't know, I don't usually read books like this." That's exactly what I thought too. But the cover photo nudged me out of my comfort zone and into the unknown with a digital copy of The Castle on Sunset. Yeah, the full title is a bit wordy. That should have been a clue that the writing might be too. . .In places, Levy does get heavy handed with historical backstories, while in others a little more information would have been appreciated. There were a few times the narrative was gossipy and felt more like I was reading a grocery store magazine. Then suddenly Levy seemed to find his footing and we were back to the classy, fluid writing for which he is known. Although I understand the reasons for limiting photos, having more is always great. As for research...Wow! Shawn Levy takes readers all the way back to the onion fields that once populated the ground and journeys us through to the present day, revealing a lot of the "stuff" that makes Chateau Marmont...well...Chateau Marmont.

Teetering on a cliff, overlooking Sunset, Chateau Marmont is in a league of her own. There's no way to get a travel advisory app to compare this hotel to any other - because she is a one-of-a-kind. Just like each of her bungalows, no two are the same. Each is fully equipped with everything a guest needs to stay a night, a week. or whatever. Pop stars, rock stars, movie stars, has-beens, are being, and wannabes. The clientele at Chateau Marmont is as diverse as her atmosphere. There are many well-known stories included in the book and the guest registers read like a who's who of the mega-stars -- Katherine Hepburn, Anthony Perkins, and Duke Ellington just a few to pique your curiosity.

Evolving and changing ever so slightly -- just enough to stay relevant and "in vogue." Chateau Marmont has stood as a silent observer to history. Until now. Shawn Levy's "The Castle on Sunset" has given her a voice. With every paragraph, it is as if her walls are whispering the stories she has kept to herself for nearly a century. Levy's The Castle on Sunset is most definitely worth a read.

Happy Reading,


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