Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Red Letter Days
by Sarah-Jane Stratford

Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Nineteen-fifties America is bright and full of promise, and Phoebe Adler, a New Yorker brimming with talent and ambition, is forging her way as the rarest of things: a female television writer in Hollywood. But fears of a growing Red Menace cloud the optimism, egged on by the hate-mongering of Senator McCarthy. A blacklist is created to cast out communist sympathizers, smashing careers and ruining lives. When Phoebe finds herself caught in the hysteria’s web, she flees to London.

Though postwar London is struggling and work is precarious, Phoebe finds camaraderie with other Americans living in exile, including the restless and ambitious Hannah Wolfson. Determined to fight the injustices of the Red Scare, Hannah is a successful producer who hires blacklisted writers at great risk to her career and company.

Together Phoebe and Hannah successfully fight unfair bias and sexism, but danger still looms in this supposed sanctuary. And when their families and friends—their very lives—are threatened, they will have to make impossible choices.


Kritters Thoughts:  A book set in a time period that is written about and read often, but the focuses on something that I knew vaguely about, but didn't know the details and through this book was glad to find out the ins and outs of a cultural change in Hollywood.  The "blacklist" of Hollywood included all sorts of names and professions where they were accused of promoting a Communist agenda to Americans through television and film and it was like a set of dominos falling as one would accuse another to hopefully gain freedom or favor.  I had heard about this, but to read a book dedicated on this time and this moment was very very interesting.

Told through two women, one a writer who starts the story in Hollywood and the other a producer who headed to London early to escape the possibility of accusations end up colliding and helping each other through this time in their industry.  I was so glad to hear from two different women in two different roles and circumstances in life describe how this time in history affected themselves and those around them.  It was nice to read a story about Hollywood, television and film told not through actresses or actors but through a different viewpoint.  

If you feel as though you have read all the behind the scenes books that are also historical fiction, I would challenge you to read this one as it just a little bit different from viewpoint and time and place.    


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Berkley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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