Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite

'Deftly captures the era's sense of frenzied invention and seductive promise' - The New York Times

'Full of suspense, this is an all-feeling novel, seductively and dramatically told' -- Daily Mail

“She tried to smile but her face,she noticed with a jolt,was one that 
had been configured for tradgedy.” 

I just finished this book, The Glimmer Palace. I didn't read the reviews before I picked it out. But, as usual, I listened to it on audio; driving around in my car. I don't know how it would've been to read it. Some books are better than others and should be listened to instead of read from a book... at least in my opinion. This one I think would've been just find to read from a book but I adored the narrator. I thought she was superb.

The book was written by the UK author Beatrice Colin and that is the reason for the two titles. The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite was it's UK title. When it came to America it was re-titled The Glimmer Palace. Isn't the cover pretty?!

I got the feeling that this book was impeccably researched. It was the perfect blend of history and fiction; so much so that after awhile you start wondering if more of the story is real than fake.

After I read a book that I really enjoy I like to look up the research behind it. Unfortunately I couldn't find an interview with the author Beatrice Colin about this book specifically. But I found some other things. Like this interview where we find out that her great-aunt Nina, who carved out a career in the German film industry between the wars, was a guiding spirit behind The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite. 

Beatrice Colin is a UK writer. On her main author website she explains what it feels like to write - There are dozens of analogies of how it feels to write but to me it feels a little like trying to walk through a dark room with my arms outstretched. You stumble across things you weren’t expecting, and as you grope around in the dark take two steps forward in any direction and then one step back again. It can be either frustrating or exhilarating, but this is where I feel I’m most creative, and I usually come up with scenes or situations that I had never imagined before.

Towards the end, I start to speed up, almost finished, but this part is also the hardest. All those choices I made so casually earlier on in the story have consequences. I am now the grown-up left to tidy up the mess of a very messy adolescent...

The story is about Lilly Nelly Aphrodite who is orphaned when she is only two years old. She lives in a Catholic orphanage in Germany and her life takes a turn when she befriends a girl who has more life experience than she should. Lilly's story twists and turns and you never know what is going to happen next. She goes through many different hardships, all the while just trying to be happy and safe. She eventually falls into the film industry and then things really start happening!

early Germany film industry
The actress Pola Negri was mentioned several times in this book... here is her picture. It gives you an idea of what actresses during that time looked like.


And of course, since it was an audio book that I listened to, I must mention Justine Eyre, the narrator of this fine novel. 

Take a listen and see if you don't think her voice is divine & perfectly matched to the story...

If you like historical fiction this book is for you. If you are interested in World War 1, Nazi Germany and early cinema this book is for you. If you like plot twists and beautiful language this book is for you. If you like to be entertained, well, this is the book for you!

I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think you will too.

Check your local library. That's where I got mine!

Happy Reading!

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Please feel free to comment. I do review my comments to deter slander. Thank you for your consideration and again, thanks for reading. Have a lovely day! - Ciara