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Cheat and Charmer

3.46  ·  Rating Details  ·  192 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
"Dinah Lasker grew up in the shadow of her sister, Veevi, a stunning beauty and emerging star who enchanted both the Hollywood set and its imported New York literati. But thanks to her marriage to Stefan Ventura, a Bulgarian filmmaker and high-profile Communist, Veevi's home was also a hotbed of political activity. At the end of the 1930s, when things went badly for him in ...more
Paperback, 560 pages
Published October 11th 2005 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2000)
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(showing 1-30 of 337)
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Naomi Kelsey
Dec 24, 2013 Naomi Kelsey rated it it was amazing
Words can't encompass how awesome this book is. I have read it many times, and have savored its bittersweet mix of frothy high society and post war Hollywood fun and familial betrayal and forgiveness each time.

The author could have presented us with a good girl heroine and a likable bad girl foil, instead she created deep, complex female characters who act like humans do-- making mistakes, forgiving cads, loving family even as they hurt you, spiraling into self destruction over a lost love.

The
...more
Nina Draganova
Dec 11, 2015 Nina Draganova rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Книгата ме завладя, ядоса и разби и последните ми илюзии за човешкия вид . Ужасно реалистична. Началото и края са много силни. Средата е малко скучна. Ето две неща, които ще запомня от всички откровенни мисли , които авторката е написала и сложила в устата на някои герои :

" Америка е най-жестоката и лицемерна държава"


"Да чукаш собствената си жена е все едно да чукаш на вратата на глух " :)
Khristin Schachtschneider
This book was very interesting and, while I could not wait to find out what was going to happen, there is not one, single character that you can actually LIKE as you read this. They are all so flawed. But maybe that is realistic?
Jamie
Aug 21, 2008 Jamie rated it it was amazing
A book I always lend out. Fantastic writing.
Tamcamry
Mar 24, 2010 Tamcamry rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one, ever...
Alright, this is the second bad book I’ve had in a row. I’m really hoping my luck will change. There are so many awful things about this book I almost don’t even know where to begin. First this book was pretty unabashedly pro-Communist. It just sort of glossed over the two billion people oppressed by Communist regimes worldwide. It also forgot about the millions murdered for being political enemies of the state in Russia under Stalin. It actually had one character deny that that happened. The ot ...more
Brooke
Sep 02, 2009 Brooke rated it really liked it
This intriguing story primarily takes place in 1930's-1950's Old Hollywood and deals with the multifaceted emotions that result from the choices these characters make. I found this story engrossing b/c I had never read a book that dealt w/ McCarthyism and it's affect on the movers and shakers in Hollywood. The story focuses on two sisters and their love/hate relationship. The story opens as Dinah, the stuttering, less glamorous sister is subpoenaed to "name" her beautiful, shallow, emotionally a ...more
Tina
Jan 02, 2015 Tina rated it it was ok
Couldn't actually finish this book. I didn't like it much at all, but I'm giving it an extra star for a really interesting premise, and because the author writes well. But I hated all the characters so much that I was dreading picking it up, so I finally just stopped. I'll skim to see how it ends, maybe....
Alistair
Dec 04, 2014 Alistair rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
Apparently 25 years in the writing, and it shows. The detail in which the period of early 1950s Hollywood is evoked and the depth of characterisation is beautifully observed. This is a big, glorious novel that you can really sink your teeth into, with people that leap off the page and linger in your mind.
Angela Natividad
Feb 04, 2016 Angela Natividad rated it it was ok
In maybe 500 pages too many, Frank's novel only confirms that LA society women, lusting after la dolce vita, are no different from their New York counterparts: They lie, cheat and get addicted to sleeping pills.

Who in hell compared this to "The Sun Also Rises"? Think more along the lines of "Valley of the Dolls," except Frank is apparently dead-serious about trying to turn her allegory into epic. No thank you.
Aileen rankin
Mar 17, 2015 Aileen rankin rated it it was amazing
I loved every word in this book,the flawed characters,the horrid blacklisting which even today very few people are aware of and the glory of Hollywood,beverly hills and making movies.

It's beautifully written and I only hope Elizabeth Frank is working on another novel.
AJ
Oct 15, 2009 AJ rated it really liked it
I had a hard time determing if this was historical fiction or just simple fiction so I ended up putting it on both shelves.

The benefit here, as a reader, is you are completely entertained and entranced by the lives of this hollywood family while still being swept into an educational book about life in the 50's with the red fear sweeping throughout the country: McCarthyism.

The story is part romance, part fiction, part dysfunctional family. There are politics but they are so well embedded into the
...more
Megan
Jan 19, 2016 Megan rated it really liked it
This was a very cute book. If you enjoy stories about women in the U.S. in the 40s and later this is a great read. It depicted what it might have been like for those in Hollywood during the time. It was interesting and well written.
Brian
Mar 26, 2016 Brian rated it liked it
Hollywood during the McCarthy era. Focused on woman surrounded by cheaters and charmers, namely her husband and sister. Dinah Milligan is stuttering main character who testifies in exchange for her husband's film career. She feels guilty from then on, and is shunned by many Communists who refused to testify and endured the consequences. She feels responsible for her sister's subsequent death and eventually finds out what kind of man her husband really is. Not clear how she'll come through at the ...more
Kristin Dow
May 01, 2015 Kristin Dow rated it liked it
Writer skilled with language and creating unique, very flawed characters. Good descriptions and enjoyed her essay at the end. Did get drawn out and towards end I was powering through to finish.
Grace
Aug 28, 2008 Grace rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who loves old Hollywood and dramatic relationships.
I just finished reading this for the second time - I first read it in 2004, but re-visited it again this past week. I have always been intrigued by old Hollywood and love to read anything that allows me to glimpse into that world. I picked this up at an airport and read it in a matter of days. It was fun to guess which characters represented which 'real life' stars. I felt both compassion and infuriation with the main character as she dealt with all the awful people in her family and life at a t ...more
Judy
Sep 11, 2010 Judy rated it it was ok
this was a book where all the characters were really hard to like. even the protagonist, is annoyingly loyal and self-deprecating, to the point where you just want to slap her upside the head sometimes. although the glimpse into mccarthyism's affect in hollywood was interesting, overall, the book left something to be desired. engaging at points, towards the very end, the characters just became too odious for me to care one way or another what happened to them.
Mulva
Jul 06, 2009 Mulva rated it really liked it
The story is about so many things; early Hollywood, the destruction caused by the McCarthy hearings, husbands and wives, sibling rivalry, loyalty, and love. The characters are all too real. I wanted so badly to know who each of these characters might have been based in the real Hollywood.

Marion Meade
Jun 24, 2012 Marion Meade rated it liked it
A Pulitzer-winning biographer (the life of poet Louise Bogan) uses her own family background for a novel about Hollywood. Quite interesting if you know the real-life identities of her characters, less so if you don't. Still, a lot of time and effort must have gone into this book.
Linda
Jul 02, 2008 Linda rated it liked it
This is a trashy novel about Hollywood. Yum! It is a little bit too long, but if you enjoy the husband that sleeps around, the loyal wife, the slutty sister, and trying to figure out who the characters are in real life, then you'll have fun.
Erica
Jan 23, 2010 Erica rated it liked it
enh. Started out GREAT, interesting view into Hollywood in the 40s and 50s...but the story just couldn't keep me going. I started hating all of the characters. A lot. Beautifully written!
Samantha
Jun 19, 2008 Samantha rated it it was amazing
Despite the fact that each sister is more infuriating than the next, I was fully sucked into their disfunction and the rather unique perspective of the time.
Kimma
May 21, 2013 Kimma rated it it was ok
Couldn't care enough about the characters to stick with this past the first 100 pages or so.
Lupine
Aug 30, 2007 Lupine rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
This was a great summer read. Wonderful insight into the Hollywood scene during McCarthyism.
Lisa
May 17, 2009 Lisa marked it as to-read
I picked this up at the dollar store, hopefully it's worth more than that!
Renée
Jan 09, 2008 Renée rated it really liked it
A wonderful read about Hollywood during the McCarthy era.
Caroline
Feb 10, 2010 Caroline rated it did not like it
Absolutely awful. Couldn't get past page 30.
Dori James
Oct 05, 2007 Dori James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How the McCarthy era affected people in America
Sue
Feb 08, 2009 Sue rated it really liked it
Susan recommended this... good read..
Sheryl
Jul 23, 2009 Sheryl rated it it was amazing
Excellent story about famous movie writer/producer/director in Hollywood in the 1930's
Dorothy
Dorothy marked it as to-read
Aug 27, 2016
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“I to my perils    Of cheat and charmer    Came clad in armour     By stars benign. Hope lies to mortals    And most believe her,    But man’s deceiver     Was never mine. The thoughts of others    Were light and fleeting,    Of lovers’ meeting     Or luck or fame. Mine were of trouble,    And mine were steady,    So I was ready     When trouble came. — A. E. HOUSMAN” 0 likes
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