True Grandeur, by Cal R. Barnes

Stereotypes for artists exist for a reason, and Conrad manages to hit many of them. While searching for his big break, the romanticism of loves’ ideals captures him. Caught deep within tendrils of his heart, Conrad must fight for both his budding career and the affections of the woman he loves.

The whole novel feels like one of those old black and white movies of the Hollywood elite and their inner politics. An overall tone of romanticism and whimsy permeate the author’s writing and ultimately spills directly into Conrad’s character. With the way the story was spun, I honestly expected some sort of Twilight Zone ending.

With only a handful of characters to really keep up with, their interactions felt a lot more meaningful. It allowed the author to explore characters deeply without overwhelming the reader. Conrad’s obsession with Gracie shows the darker side of what one could call love, and it proved to be an interesting dynamic not just between them, but simply for Conrad himself. There were occasions where his overwhelming love for Gracie came off as too much, borderline creepy given the length of time he’s known her, though the tone was meant for something different.

True Grandeur was an interesting exploration of Hollywood and what goes on behind the scenes. I think the writing style definitely fit the tone of the story. It’s one that will get into a reader’s head with very specific imagery.

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