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The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  1,093 ratings  ·  212 reviews
A modern-day Gatsby tale of forbidden love, family secrets and the true price of wealth.

The story begins with a dinner party invitation. When young journalist Thomas Cleary is sent to dig up quotes for the obituary of a legendary film producer, the man's eccentric daughter offers him entree into the exclusive upper echelons of Hollywood society. A small-town boy with worki
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 22nd 2015 by MIRA (first published August 25th 2015)
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3.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,093 ratings  ·  212 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Sep 14, 2015 rated it liked it
A young reporter on his second chance, Thomas Cleary becomes involved with the rich and famous. David Duplaine, holds much power in the movie business and his estate is the stuff of dreams. He has secrets though, secrets the Thomas will discover and will change his life in many ways.

I think one of things I most noticed about this novel was how easy it was to read, how smoothly the prose and the plot flowed. Thomas Cleary is a very likable character and one can't help feeling sorry for Lily.The r
Angela M
Aug 15, 2015 rated it liked it
The description calls it a "modern day Gatsby tale ". There are rich and maybe at times manipulative and "careless people" and there are a few lavish but small dinner parties and a bigger art opening, but it really wasn't like The Great Gatsby in any meaningful way for me and I felt that the similarities that someone who wrote this description saw in this novel , are facile. Having said that upfront I enjoyed it . It reads easily and the story line moved along holding my interest.

Thomas Cleary
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
3.5 stars
Part love story, part family mystery and a coming of age tale of sorts. Overall an entertaining debut.
Aug 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
If you're wondering what Harlequin is up to these days, here's a recent release. Authored by L.A. real estate agent Alex Brunkhorst, The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine is a luxe, if somewhat circumscribed, journey through the palatial estates and environs of Hollywood's elite.

Reporter Thomas Cleary, scratching his way back up the journalism ladder after a plagiarism fiasco in Manhattan, has arrived in "the town of second chances" to rustle himself up one. Los Angeles, ever-ready to comply, loft
Dorie  - Traveling Sister :)
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thomas Cleary is a young newspaper journalist who has come to Los Angeles to start his career afresh after stumbling on some reporting for the New York Times. He’s a young man from a working class family who made it through Harvard on an athletic scholarship for running, his degree was hard fought for. He’s determined that this time things will work out.

He’s sent on a story to get quotes or any fresh information on for an obituary on a wealthy notorious film producer. He meets the film producer’
Oct 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is definitely a story where one event leads to another and eventually to love, a mystery to solve and some exotic locations to visit! The hero is Thomas Cleary, a young journalist from a small town who is in awe when first invited to a dinner party which gives him unexpected access to the elite of Hollywood society. This thrusts him into a new world of Bel-Air mansions, private jets and opportunities he’d only dreamed of, including meeting the possible love of his life.

This is an exploratio
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
I would have given up on this in the first chapter, but I didn't have anything else to read right then...and by the time I had something else to read I was interested enough to want to find out what happened.
Let's just say none of what happened was particularly surprising, and I would have been better off spending quality time with family or furthering my career or something.

(view spoiler)
Dec 08, 2015 rated it liked it
A fun, easy, enjoyable read.

It is nothing like The Great Gatsby, but that's not the fault of the writer or the book. It's the fault of the editor/publishing house for putting that damn sentence in the flyleaf. I don't know why they did that; it's a disservice to both the author and to the book. Because Brunkhorst is a good writer who wrote a good book. But, you put that comparison to Gatsby in and all of the sudden everyone expects something that this book was never poised to deliver.

No, Brunk
Dec 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: beach-read
2.5 stars: If you are a huge fan of fairy tales, this is a book for you. This is a story of a beautiful damsel who is kept hidden in a mansion/estate in the tony parts of Bel-Air California, and a young poor working class lad who inadvertently discovers her. The Lad wants to save the damsel. The quandary that author Alex Brunkhorst poses, is what is the right way of saving her?

The story takes place in the extremely affluent area of Los Angeles. Because I’m not in the least familiar with the powe
Although, we know from the start that the happy ever after Thomas is hoping for won’t come to fruition, at least not in the way he imagines, that he is headed for a fall, we watch him learn some wonderful, but painful, and valuable lessons, and yet, this experience will set him on a new path in life, and maybe, just maybe, his love for the elusive Matilda Duplaine will conquer all in the end. One can at least hope...

This is a wonderfully written novel of contemporary fiction with a light myster
Marcela (BookaholicCat)
3.5 Stars

Originally posted at The Bookaholic Cat

It took me a while getting into The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine by Alex Brunkhorst. There was a point in which I wasn’t sure if I was liking the book or not. One thing I was sure is that I was liking the writing and that kept me going. Luckily for me, that uncertainty didn’t last long, I can say that after the one-third mark, I got into it and was completely invested in the story.

Although set in this times the story has an old Hollywood feel. T
Kim (Kimsrdnbks)
Aug 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a meditative read. I loved it! Hope to see it on the NY times best sellers list.
Jean Brown
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A little bit fairy tale, a touch gothic, a mystery, a love story, an enchanting debut. I loved it.
Am I the only one who finds books around the 3-3.5 stars mark the most difficult to review?

Anyway, I'll give it a try.

This is the story of Thomas Cleary, a handsome 26 year old, Harvard graduate, who works as a reporter for the LA Times. He's going through the motions and he feels stuck. But his fortune is about to change, once he meets Lily Goldman, the daughter of a famous Hollywood producer and studios owner. There's an instant connection between them, and the fifty-something year old, Lily,
Celia Moontown
Sep 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is a real pleasure to be able to review novels like this. At first it was the unusual title and striking cover that drew me into requesting a copy from Mira UK. After reading the first few chapters I knew this was something quite special. I think this is a great debut. The writing is so lovely and poetic. It is very delicate and sensitive to the fine details of environment and characters.

It is likened to The Great Gatsby, which is one of my favorite novels of all time (so I was also intereste
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Billed as a Gatsby-esque peek into the dirty lives of the very rich, with a mystery surrounding a young woman (Miss Duplaine) who for shadowy reasons hasn't ever left the estate where she has grown up, this sounded intriguing.

Very quickly, the author demonstrates that it would take a much more skilled writer than himself to utilize the Fitzgerald style and apply it to a modern setting. It simply doesn't--the level of isolation and removal of the very rich from the rest of the madding crowd is di
Jul 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story begins when journalist Thomas Cleary is sent to get some quotes or interesting information for an obituary on a very famous / notorious film producer. Thomas talks to this film producers daughter Lily who invites him to a dinner where he can meet those who knew him best where he will be able to get the low down on this wealthy well known man.
He is welcomed into this rich indulgent world where the rich hang out with the rich and price tags are practically irrelevant . The information t
Abby Jean
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
not a single real person in this entire book.
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
Awful. And by "Gatsby" I assume they mean "Flowers in the attic," but even that would have been readable.
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
This one fell flat for me. I imagined Matilda's dialogue in monotone. Didn't really come to like any of the characters, and I expected there to be more mystery. I couldn't figure out why the big secret had to be such a big secret.
Kelsi H
Jul 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Please check out all of my reviews at!

This novel is being called a “modern day Gatsby tale,” and I can see how it has been inspired by Fitzgerald, mostly in tone. The story has old-fashioned sensibilities, reminiscent of Gatsby’s extravagant parties and lavish home, although the setting here is present day Bel Air. It also features a main character who enters into a wealthy world and falls in love with a woman well above his social status – and ends in heartbre
Monique Mulligan
Nov 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Looking for a love story with a difference? I found that in Alex Brunkhorst’s novel, The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine. It’s described as a modern-day Gatsby with hints of Daphne Du Maurier. I wouldn’t go so far as the Du Maurier – it didn’t have that gothic gloom underpinning the mystery – but it echoes Gatsby in its sparkling descriptions of wealth and opulence that in the end can’t buy happiness.

A story of excess, luxury and glamour with an element of magical realism that befits the image
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine
Alex Brunkhorst

What it's all about...

Thomas is a gifted writer but kind of sad and poor and recovering from a few personal losses. He meets Lily...daughter of a famous Hollywood mogul...who is now dead. Lily begins inviting him to events that he normally would not be invited to...and then he accidentally discovers Matilda. Matilda has been kept a secret for all of her life. Everything she does and everything she needs is provided by her wealthy father on his
Alexis Thompson
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I have ever read. Without giving away any spoilers, this book takes you to another place, where you truly feel as though you are Thomas Cleary. A common man who suddenly one day finds everything he's looking for, but that of course comes with a catch, as does most wonderful things that life "gives us." The only complaint that I would have is that there are far too many metaphors used in the novel. Great read though. Still hoping for a sequel!
Dec 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, contemporary
A quick read that I found really enjoyable despite the fact that there were aspects of the story that stretched credulity. I sometimes wished it was a little bit deeper and darker, and delivered more on the promise of a twisty, mysterious backstory. Despite this, it was fun to read and I would recommend it for someone looking for a peek into the lives of the rich and fabulous.
Brenda Whitmore
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
The description "modern day Gatsby tale" made me excited about reading this book club pick. Unfortunately, after finishing the book, I'm quite sure whomever wrote that line hasn't read The Great Gatsby.
Oct 18, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although not ground-breaking or even full of insight into the lives of Hollywood's rich and famous, this is an engaging and absorbing read that propels you along and makes you interested in its flawed characters. An easy quick read even if it doesn't leave a lasting impression.
Tara (box5angel)
What a fabulous, fantastic, bittersweet, and wonderful story.
Oct 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
I came very close to quitting The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine. But once Thomas met Matilda, the book really took off.

2 stars for the beginning and 4 stars for the rest.
May 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Terrific debut to be published in September.
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Alex Brunkhorst grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Childhood was spent pretty much like any other kid’s childhood. I loved playing tennis, swimming, and listening to music. And I was always a veracious reader. Nancy Drew mysteries were my early books of choice, and later I devoured everything from commercial fiction to the classics. I don’t know if it was all that reading, but I always had a super vi
“You should have told me earlier. It was an expensive lesson,” I said. “It drained my emotional bank account.” 2 likes
“It’s hard for me to say now if I would have called her classically beautiful, but she was that star in the sky that you can’t take your eyes off, even if it’s surrounded by brighter ones.” 2 likes
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