I loved that Grace Doll opened in a 1949 Hollywood setting. The glamour of celebrities at the time seems haunting as you look back and was a perfect background for this haunting story.
Grace Doll is at the height of her star power and overwhelmingly unhappy. The opening hints at something more than a jaded starlet and gives the reader a palpable sense of darkness in Grace’s thoughts as she and her Producer/Husband enter Grauman’s Chinese Theater for her new movie.
Grace is performing from the beginning; smile, wave, shine, sizzle. Inside she is in obvious torment and I was anxious to learn why.
Rufus B. Solomon is propelling Grace through the hysterical crowd of fans and paparazzi, while looking like her protector, he pulls and pushes at her, controlling her physical movement with a dashing smile and an order not heard by anyone but Grace. “Sizzle, darling. Sizzle.” The scene is decidedly creepy. A glimpse of wrongness in the glitz of a Hollywood movie premier and you feel it in your gut.
Having discovered the young, 13yr old Grace on a boardwalk with her family, Rufus easily convinces her parents to make a deal with the devil. Promising riches and fame if they allow Grace to accompany him to Hollywood. Faking a birth certificate to make Grace appear older, Rufus begins to take complete control of her life in everyday possible eventually making her into the hottest actress of 1949 and his puppet. Abuse, kidnapping, obsession, and murder mark the beginning chapters of Grace Doll and when his obsession with her is at it’s peak, Rufus subjects Grace to an experimental treatment that guarantees her immortal beauty and a way he can control her forever.
As a rescue attempt to free her from Rufus goes horribly wrong Grace is forced to remain in hiding, forever young, for several decades until her secret is discovered and with the help of an old friends grandson resolves to end the nightmare Rufus began 60 years ago.
What an amazing premise. Jennifer Laurens captivates her audience with her brilliant manipulation of emotion and atmosphere. I enjoyed this story and wish I could see it on the big screen.
Book Summary:Grace Doll had everything a girl could want: Fame. Fortune. Beauty.
Everything except, of course, her freedom. So when a powerful movie producer forces an experimental treatment on Grace–one that’s purported to make beauty immortal–she stages her own death to escape him.
With the help of trusted friends, Grace slips into hiding. She’s forever flawless, forever young and forever pursued by her past.
But when a stranger arrives on her doorstep, holding the key to a life she thought she’d left behind, Grace must decide between the safety she’s known… and embracing the role she was born to play.