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More Than You Dreamed (1991)

More Than You Dreamed (1991)

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3.91 of 5 Votes: 1
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0671662171 (ISBN13: 9780671662172)
pocket books

About book More Than You Dreamed (1991)

3.5 stars I ended up feeling quite conflicted about this book. The story at the heart of it all takes some fascinating twists and turns, and the author does at times write beautifully. However, this book also contains many of the sillier cliches of older contemporaries. The heroine, Jill Casler's, background as daughter of a very successful Hollywood director and the author's fondness for lots and lots of description take us off on glitz detours from time to time. In addition, that love of description means that this book is one of those where we're constantly getting updates on what Jill is wearing. Keep in mind that this book came out in 1991. This means that Jill wears such snazzy things as boxy tees and pleated pants made of sandwashed silk. Every time she wore a dress I found myself wondering if there would be a giant butt bow on it.Now it's not all bad. Not by a long shot. AS I mentioned, the plot is actually pretty interesting. Jill's father died a few years prior and left her pretty much set for life. From the sound of things, she's basically been drifting a bit - until a handsome man shows up at her hotel door. He looks just like Phillip Wayland, lead character of a Gone With the Wind - esque Civil War drama from 40 years ago and also star of teenaged Jill's daydreams. It turns out that he's Doug Ringling, nephew of the late Bix Ringling who played Wayland. [Sidenote:I triple dog dare you to read the names of the hero and his family without cracking up from time to time. I couldn't do it.] At any rate, Doug is convinced that some secret shenanigans went on during the filming of the Civil War drama, Weary Hearts. He tells Jill his theory which, if correct, would forever tarnish her father's reputation. Jill wants no part of Doug's story but she cannot stop thinking about it, and so she starts down the path of working with Doug to try to discover what really happened with the filming of Weary Hearts. The journey leads her to rethink her father as well as to travel to her father's home state of Virginia to meet the relatives he left behind. That part of the story is well told. I learned a lot about filmmaking and Hollywood history reading this book. The parts of the book set in Virginia also rang true. Much of the book is set in the Shenandoah Valley, and I was growing up in that part of the country in the early 90s. The descriptions of places, people and life in general definitely reminded me in some ways of my childhood. Much of the book deals with Jill's budding relationships with her extended family as well as a romance with Doug Ringling. Some of it manages to be introspective in a rather understated way, and I appreciated how Jill grew and learned to connect with other people. However, I often found it difficult to completely lose myself in the story because just as I would get into the story, an awkward moment would pull me right out of it. For instance, Jill and Doug head off to their first rendezvous with Jill having this super-romantic internal monologue: As infrequent as Jill's affairs were, she knew her job would start the minute he opened the car door. That was the point at which she had to start working to make the man comfortable. The minutes between reaching the decision and arriving at the location were often awkward, and Jill knew the whole episode would be far more satisfactory if she smoothed the transition. Close your eyes and think of England, dear.The other bit of awkwardness for me came from the frequent and intrusive mentions of Jill's wealth. We learn very early on that Jill has untold millions of dollars left her by her father. However, there are mentions of Jill being rich thrown in all over the story and I felt beaten over the head with Jill's incredible riches. There's a good story here, likable characters and a historical mystery of sorts with a few twists to it, and I would have loved to spend more time there and less time being reminded that by the way, Jill is very rich.Kathleen Gilles Seidel has a distinctive writing style and at her best moments, she puts together a compelling story. However, this book is something of a mixed bag. If you're okay with that, then I will say that the good parts of More Than You Dreamed are good indeed. You just need to get past the downsides.

Another book loaned to me from my mother. The second one I'd read by this author, and I liked it as much as the first. The cover makes it seem like an embarassing romance novel, but it really isn't. A few chunks of dialogue in the more romance-centered scenes had me rolling my eyes, but it's not too bad. It gives an interesting look at the inside world of film-making and of the current state of film archives (and it seems pretty accurate as far as I can tell, based on what I know from an archiving course I took in grad school). Overall, a nice book.

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