Book Review: The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine by Alex Brunkhorst

Title: The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine
Author: Alex Brunkhorst
Publication Date: 8 October 2015
Publisher: Mira

Twitter: @AlexBrunkhorst1


Rating: 4 out of 5


Family secrets. Forbidden love. And the true price of wealth.
Following the death of Joel Goodman, reporter Thomas Cleary is sent to interview the legendary film-maker’s daughter, Lily.
Thomas is a small-town boy and when Lily invites him to a dinner party, he gains access to the exclusive upper echelons of Hollywood society. As he enters a world of private jets and sprawling mansions, his life and career take off beyond his wildest dreams.
Then he meets Matilda Duplaine.
Beautiful and mysterious, Matilda has spent her entire life within the walls of her powerful father’s Bel-Air estate and Thomas is immediately entranced by her. But what starts as an enchanted romance soon threatens to destroy their lives and the lives of everyone around them.
Thank you to Harlequin UK/HarperCollins for sending me a copy of The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine for review.
The moment I started to read The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine, I realised what a gem this book is.
The book tells the story of a young journalist at the Los Angeles Times, Thomas Cleary, sent to obtain quotes for an obituary on Hollywood great, Joel Goldman. He meets Goldman’s daughter, Lily, who offers him a rare glimpse into the glamorous and opulent lifestyle of the upper echelons of the Hollywood elite. As his career takes off due to his new contacts, Thomas quickly finds himself captivated by this new world he is experiencing, despite sensing a dark edge lingering underneath. Money and power really are heady and seductive things.
However, Thomas’ newly-discovered standing within Lily’s powerful group of friends becomes threatened when he accidentally meets and falls in love with the mysterious Matilda Duplaine. Matilda is the daughter of David Duplaine, a rich media tycoon and one of Lily’s closest confidants, yet the world is seemingly unaware of Matilda’s existence and she has never left the confines of her father’s large Bel Air estate.
What secrets are hidden away with Matilda and can Thomas find the answers, for both his and Matilda’s sakes?
Thomas is handsome, earnest and hardworking. He has never before experienced a lifestyle such as the one that Lily permits him entrance to. He is instantly in awe of their glamourous lifestyles, like a child peering through a window with the hope of being invited inside.
Matilda is naïve and childlike, yet brilliant and more flirtatious that you would expect from someone who has remained locked out of sight for so many years. Whilst life has been hard for her, in its own way, she has in all other regards been spoilt, having little understanding of the value of money or the cost of living since everything has been handed to her on a silver platter (so to speak). Matilda longs to experience the outside world and Thomas, in his secret visits, provides a brief glimpse of life beyond the walls of her father’s estate.
As Thomas begins to uncover the details of Matilda’s birth and upbringing, will the truth set her free or will the tangled web of secrets lead to tragedy and destruction for all of those involved?
This is a tale of identity – a low-level reported trying to find his identity within an exciting new world, an enigmatic girl searching for her real identity through a web of secrets and lies, an actress struggling between her outward persona and her private self etc… It is also a tale of morals and of compromising those same scruples/principles in the pursuit of fame, power and love.
The book allowed me to be seduced by the glamour and opulence of this decadent world of private jets and swinging parties, whilst also remaining slightly moralistic and judgmental towards the characters who are quite obviously live in a different world to the rest of us.
I found The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine to be utterly absorbing with a style of prose that flowed naturally from chapter to chapter, creating a smooth and easy read. It was decadent, glamourous, moody, intriguing and romantic — definitely reminiscent of The Great Gatsby. This is a charming book, a timeless tale of privilege and power that I would definitely recommend to one and all.
Buy Links
                      Paperback –
Amazon US: Paperback –
About the Author

Alex is the founder of the popular luxury living website Bengalux & has called Los Angeles her home for over 15 years. A modern-day Gatsby tale filled with unforgettable characters and charm, The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine is a sparkling love letter to Los Angeles and a captivating journey beyond the golden gates of its most glamorous estates.
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