Review: City of Flickering Light by Juliette Fay

Title: City of Flickering Light by Juliette Fay
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre:Historical (20s), Fiction
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Juliette Fay—“one of the best authors of women’s fiction” (Library Journal)—transports us back to the Golden Age of Hollywood and the raucous Roaring Twenties, as three friends struggle to earn their places among the stars of the silent screen—perfect for fans of La La Land and Rules of Civility

It’s July 1921, “flickers” are all the rage, and Irene Van Beck has just declared her own independence by jumping off a moving train to escape her fate in a traveling burlesque show. When her friends, fellow dancer Millie Martin and comedian Henry Weiss, leap after her, the trio finds their way to the bright lights of Hollywood with hopes of making it big in the burgeoning silent film industry.

At first glance, Hollywood in the 1920s is like no other place on earth—iridescent, scandalous, and utterly exhilarating—and the three friends yearn for a life they could only have dreamed of before. But despite the glamour and seduction of Tinseltown, success doesn’t come easy, and nothing can prepare Irene, Millie, and Henry for the poverty, temptation, and heartbreak that lie ahead. With their ambitions challenged by both the men above them and the prejudice surrounding them, their friendship is the only constant through desperate times, as each struggles to find their true calling in an uncertain world. What begins as a quest for fame and fortune soon becomes a collective search for love, acceptance, and fulfillment as they navigate the backlots and stage sets where the illusions of the silver screen are brought to life.

With her “trademark wit and grace” (Randy Susan Meyers, author of The Murderer’s Daughters), Juliette Fay crafts another radiant and fascinating historical novel as thrilling as the bygone era of Hollywood itself.


City of Flickering Light by Juliette Fay is an engrossing novel that takes place in Hollywood during the early 1920s.

Irene Van Beck, Millie Martin and Henry Weiss creatively leave behind their life in burlesque for the bright lights of Hollywood. All three have heartache in their pasts so none of them are in touch with their families.  Silent pictures are all the rage so this group of friends heads to Hollywood in hopes of hitting it big. Their close-knit friendship bolsters them  as they each endure highs and lows as they fight for their big breaks.

Irene is a former Vaudevillian who is the mastermind of their escape from the burlesque show.  She is rather serious, incredibly independent and extremely practical. Irene gives little away about herself, but she is fiercely loyal to her friend, Millie.

Millie is perpetually sunny, charming and a bit scatterbrained.  She lives in the moment and gives little thought to the consequences of her decisions.  In the aftermath of one of her choices, Millie turns to very unhealthy means to try to escape her feelings. Luckily for her, she has Irene and Henry to make she does not end up like some of the other women they meet in Hollywood.

Henry has the looks to be a star but initially, he relies on skills he learned at his beloved grandfather’s side. He is very responsible and he shares his good fortune with Irene and Millie. It is not until he begins working as an actor that Henry is willing to admit and accept the undeniable truth about himself.

City of Flickering Light is a truly captivating novel with a cast of endearing and lovable characters. Irene, Millie and Henry are vibrantly developed with fascinating backstories.  All three are courageous and determined as they work hard to turn their dreams into reality.  Juliette Fay’s impeccable research and uncanny ability to weave fact with fiction bring this entrancing novel vividly to life. An absolutely brilliant story that takes readers behind the scenes of the Roaring Twenties and  the Golden Age of Hollywood.

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Filed under City of Flickering Lights, Fiction, Gallery Books, Historical, Historical (20s), Juliette Fay, Rated B+, Review

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