Publisher: Ashberry Lane Publishing
Publication Date: December 1, 2015
Number of pages: 279
Awards/Honors: RT Book Reviews (rare) 5 goldstar Top Pick, a Reviewers’ Choice Award Nominee (of 5), and the December 2015 Seal of Excellence winner, which makes it a Book of the Year Nominee (1 of 12 out of thousands reviewed)
The Memoir of Johnny Devine (RT Book Reviews 4.5 GOLD Star Top Pick): In 1953, desperation forces young war widow Eliza Saunderson to take a job writing the memoir of ex-Hollywood heartthrob Johnny Devine. Rumor has it Johnny can seduce anything in a skirt quicker than he can hail a cab. But now the notorious womanizer claims he’s been born again. Eliza soon finds herself falling for the humble, grace-filled man John has become—a man who shows no sign of returning her feelings. No sign, that is, until she discovers something John never meant for her to see.
When Eliza’s articles on minority oppression land her on McCarthy’s Communist hit list, John and Eliza become entangled in an investigation that threatens both his book and her future. To clear her name, Eliza must solve a family mystery. Plus, she needs to convince John that real love—not the Hollywood illusion—can forgive a sordid past. Just when the hope of love becomes reality, a troubling discovery confirms Eliza’s worst fears. Like the happy façade many Americans cling to, had it all been empty lies? Is there a love she can truly believe in?
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Camille Eide writes romantic, inspirational dramas about love, faith, and family. She lives in Oregon with her husband and is a mom, grammy, bass guitarist, and a fan of muscle cars, tender romance, oldies Rock, and Peanut M&Ms.
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5-stars is what I give The Memoir of Johnny Devine! I suppose this book could be termed an historical romance, but it is definitely so much more. With glimpses into the life of old Hollywood, a 1950s setting full of the unease of the McCarthy investigations, a woman living with disappointment and betrayal and an unlikely messenger of hope, Camille Eide has written a thought-provoking and touching novel I can Highly Recommend.
Retired film star Johnny Devine is writing his memoir. Instead of a tell-all from the notorious playboy of Hollywood, John wants to impart a message of hope to his readers. Eliza Saunderson, disillusioned and alone is hired to help whip the manuscript into a coherent whole. The two form an unlikely partnership and perhaps a second chance at a new life.
The Memoir of Johnny Devine has many strengths. The novel has a strong sense of time and place and revealed an America I have paid little attention to. World War II is in the past, but the threat of communism seems all too real. Mistrust, betrayal and fear were very real emotions for those who came under the magnifying glass of the House Un-American Activities Committee. The Hollywood studio system and race relations are also examined. Eide’s characters are also strongly written — no stereotypes here. Eliza is a woman moved by the injustices she sees among women and minorities. John’s former life haunts him despite His relationship with God. Their relationship develops slowly and realistically, and the reader cannot help but hope that their differences can be overcome. Perhaps the strongest element of the novel is its message of hope. God’s grace and forgiveness in the face of extreme shame and guilt is beautifully exemplified in John’s changed life. And that change makes its mark on Eliza. She learns that God’s call to submit never means a surrender to oppression.
An unusual love story filled with God’s grace and mercy, The Memoir of Johnny Devine is perfect for readers looking for a fresh and unique voice.
(Thanks to Singing Librarian Tours for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)
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