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Fading Starlight by Kathryn Cushman
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Fading Starlight

by Kathryn Cushman

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After a dress Lauren helped produced causes a “wardrobe malfunction” on the red carpet, she is fired from her internship and blacklisted in the fashion world. Desperate to get away, and make some money, she takes a position at a school designing costumes for their upcoming play. She moves into a cottage within a private neighborhood. The neighborhood was established by those trying to hide from something.

I thought the neighborhood was a fascinating setting. It added a layer of mystery and intrigue that this book would not have had otherwise. I do think the characters were a bit stereotypical, and the story played out in a predictable fashion. I also believe this book should be labeled as Christian fiction. Overall, not a bad book, but not one I would reread. ( )
  JanaRose1 | Jul 29, 2016 |
Fading Starlight is the latest novel by Kathryn Cushman. Lauren Summers has recently graduated from fashion institute and was fortunate enough to get picked for an internship with Deb Couture. Lauren was flattered to be picked to design a dress for Marisa Remington (an actress) who wants to look more grownup than her mother and managers want her to be. Lauren oversaw design and final alterations to dress for the VMA’s. Lauren is watching the award show on television and is shocked when there is an “accident” with the dress. The dress breaks open to expose the actress’ undergarments (we all know who staged the so called accident). Deb Couture immediately closes ranks and blames it on Lauren. Lauren is fired (of course) and blackballed in the industry. Lauren’s mentor, Professor Navarro finds a job for her to do that also comes with a place to stay (out of town). Lauren will work on the costumes for a high school theatrical production of Camelot (Lauren’s specialty is historical clothing) in Santa Barbara. The place to live is being provided by Ralph Edwards. The community has very, very strict rules (such as not taking pictures, sticking to walking paths, valuing each other’s privacy). Mr. Edwards needs someone on site while construction is being carried out (a rule). The owner of the nearby Victorian, though, is not happy with the new addition to the neighborhood. Charlotte Montgomery is a recluse and values her privacy. Lauren is happy to have the beautiful place to live and some work. But she wants to be able to clear her name. Then Lauren is approached by Kendall Joiner, a reporter. She will help Lauren clear her name (already has some helpful information on Marisa’s deception) in exchange for information on Charlotte Montgomery. Lauren reluctantly agrees. But over the summer she slowly gets to know Charlotte and her housekeeper, Frances Brown. Will Lauren be able to hold up her end of the bargain? Is Lauren willing to compromise her values to clear her name?

Fading Starlight was a good novel. I was immediately engaged and kept reading until the end. The sabotage was easy to figure out, but I enjoyed the other elements at play in the book. I liked the characters and the beautiful setting (I wanted to live in the community). Fading Starlight had a good pace that made it easy and enjoyable to read. The book is well-written and contained a nice life lesson. I give Fading Starlight 4.5 out of 5 stars. There were a couple of slow areas (mostly when character is thinking). I just told you a little about what transpired in the book. There is much more (a mystery of sorts). I look forward to reading Kathryn Cushman’s in the future (and I will be checking out her other published novels).

I received a complimentary copy of Fading Starlight in exchange for an honest evaluation of the novel. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | Jun 10, 2016 |
This is a sweet story about a young girl who is just starting out in her career when disaster strikes. She still has a core group of supporters that help her find a place to lay low until the worst of it rolls over. There she meets a cantankerous recluse who doesn’t trust the kindness of strangers.

Lauren, the young woman in hiding is recently graduated from design school and she has a real talent for her chosen profession. She also has a great love for older fashions and the techniques used to make them so when she sees her mysterious neighbor wearing some old evening gowns she is doubly intrigued. She tried doing some random acts of kindness but they are all rebuffed. Along the way she meets a shady reporter who wants to “help” her with her fashion disaster but wants something in return. Lauren is not comfortable trading secrets for favors so she battles with her conscious over what to do.

The recluse is a woman of old Hollywood who learned to not trust anyone because she was constantly hurt. Only a few people have showed her real affection; her father and her housekeeper for two. When Lauren starts being nice she thinks that it’s for ulterior motives. She cannot conceive that someone could just be….kind.

These two lonely people need each other but will they find a way to get past each other’s issues?

This was a very fast read and an enjoyable one. Nothing too complicated, nothing too challenging. I enjoyed the sweet tale of Lauren working her way through her neighbor’s stubborn personality and I loved the descriptions of the fashions. Just be aware this is a very Scripture focused book. I had no idea when I picked it to read as there is no indication in the synopsis and I didn’t know the publisher when I chose it. I’m not a religious person so I skipped the pages of religion/God focused plot and dialog so I can’t comment as to it. It’s a sweet beach read perfect for the summer. ( )
  BrokenTeepee | May 24, 2016 |
A wardrobe malfunction … that’s how this began. Lauren Summers is an intern fashion designer for Deb Couture. She was the last one to put the finishing touches on the evening gown for up and coming teen star, Marisa Remington. Marisa’s mother and agent didn’t want sexy; they wanted modest. The dress was beautiful … and modest … before Marisa managed to step on her sash causing the wrapped portion of her gown to fall loose revealing her sexy bra and bikini unders. Lauren didn’t understand; she’d double checked the stitches. She gets fired and will probably never get another chance to prove herself in fashion.

But, opportunity knocks sometimes when you least suspect it. It’s not a lot of money, but she has a place to stay for free in Santa Barbara, CA, while she creates period costumes for a high school drama play. The little cottage is not in great shape but it’s in a gated community near the beach. She’s literally across the street from Charlotte Montgomery who is an old lady now, but was once a movie star in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Lauren may have enjoyed being close to Charlotte except that Charlotte is a recluse and wants nothing to do with anyone. Some rumor she left Hollywood sixty years ago after having been involved in a murder. Journalist Kendall Joiner makes a deal with Lauren. She can prove that Marisa’s malfunction was deliberate if Lauren will do a little research into Charlotte.

I loved the characters and the emotions this enchanting story brought with it. Lauren is a Christian who just wants to be an inspiration to other people and seeks to do right by others. So, while she loves fashion and would love to be able to clear her name, is it ethical to poke around into someone’s life; someone who only wants to be left alone? And what about the murder? Charlotte is very cantankerous, there’s no doubt about it, but murder? This kind of reminds me of the story of Pollyanna and how she wins over Mrs. Snow. The set-up is quite different between the two, but the tenderness is there and it was a very compassionate and welcome read. Rating: 4 out of 5. ( )
  FictionZeal | May 12, 2016 |
It was slow going as I started to read Fading Starlight, Kathryn Cushman's newest novel. Lauren Summers is a budding fashion designer but the night her design takes the red carpet, disaster errupts, sending her into hiding. This is where the story begins to pick up spead, becoming a page turner with intrigue, mystery and drama. Lauren takes a job helping a high school theater director designing custumes for an upcoming production. Her paltry salery comes with a rent free cottage as long as she abides by the privacy policy. Across the street from the cottage lives reclusive Hollywood actress Charlotte Montgomery who is leary of the newcomer to her neighborhood. Lauren only wants friendship. Charlotte thinks Lauren wants something just as everyone in her past did. Then Charlotte's heirloom necklace disappears. Can Lauren convince Charlotte of her friendship, clear her name in the fashion world and find the necklace? Will Lauren remain faithful in her relationship with God throughout her ordeal? To say "nothing is quite as it seems" is so true in this book and in life. This book has a lot to offer in the way of a great story line but the suttle messege underneath is worth taking to heart. I received this book free to review with my honest opinion for Bethany House Publishers. ( )
  gcclibrary | May 10, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0764212621, Paperback)

A Tale of Unexpected Friendship and Old Hollywood Glamour

Lauren Summers is hiding. Her fashion house internship should have launched her career, but a red carpet accident has left her blackballed. The only job she finds is unpaid, but comes with free lodging--a run-down cottage in the shadow of a cliff-side mansion. Unsure of what comes next, she's surprised to be contacted by a reporter researching a reclusive former Hollywood ingénue who lives in the nearby mansion.

Kendall Joiner wants Lauren's help uncovering the old woman's secrets. In return, she'll prove the red carpet accident was a publicity stunt so Lauren can regain her former job. With all her dreams in front of her, Lauren's tempted by the offer, but as she and the old woman get to know each other, Lauren realizes nothing is quite as it seems.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 09 Feb 2016 16:15:12 -0500)

When fashion intern Lauren Summers sees her future slip away after a red carpet incident, she retreats to a cottage to consider her position, but a reporter soon offers to help with her reputation in exchange for her information about an aging Hollywood star.… (more)

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