Right before talking pictures slug Tinsel Town in the jaw, a luminous silent screen star converts her private estate into the Garden of Allah Hotel. The lush grounds soon become a haven for Hollywood hopefuls to meet, drink, and revel through the night. George Cukor is in the pool, Tallulah Bankhead is at the bar, and Scott Fitzgerald is sneaking off to a bungalow with Sheilah Graham while Madame Alla Nazimova keeps watch behind her lace curtains.
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Summer, 1936: Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell's first novel, takes the world by storm. Everyone in Hollywood knows Civil War pictures don't make a dime, but renegade producer David O. Selznick snaps up the movie rights and suddenly America has just one question: Who will play Scarlett O'Hara? The Trouble with Scarlett is the second in Martin Turnbull's series of historical novels set during Hollywood's golden age.
Hollywood, 1939: When Tinseltown begins to woo wunderkind Orson Welles, he stashes himself at the Chateau Marmont until he's ready to make his splashy entrance. But gossip columnist Kathryn Massey knows he's there. Kathryn has been on the outs with Hollywood since her ill-fated move to Life magazine, but now that she's back at the Hollywood Reporter, she's desperate to find the Next Big Thing.
At the dawn of 1942, the dark days of Pearl Harbor still loom over Los Angeles. America is now at war. Wartime propaganda is the name of the game. Marcus Adler is an MGM screenwriter whose latest movie was stolen out from under his whiskey glass, and he's determined it won't happen again. He comes up with a surefire hit, but his chance to triumph is threatened by a vicious rumor: "Marcus Adler is a goddamned commie." In the city of searchlights, suspicions can lurk behind every shadow.
When a scandal accuses Tinseltown of being riddled with Communists, MGM writing department head Marcus Adler needs to keep his reputation beyond reproach. Unfortunately in Hollywood, nobody's past is spotless. Gossip columnist Kathryn Massey is doing everything she can to shed the FBI informer mantle she carried during the war. In post-war Hollywood, there are reds in the beds, the sharks are circling, and it's feeding time.