Last year I read Women and Children First by Gill Paul and loved it, so I was really excited to hear that Gill’s second novel would be set in Rome and based on the filming of Cleopatra, which starred Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
Although, the main stars of the film were Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, the book actually focuses on people behind the scenes. At the forefront of the story there is twenty six year Historical Advisor to the film Diana Bailey, young English make up artist Helen and American journalist Scott. At first, Diana feels stressed at having to leave her husband in London for six months, whilst Helen longs to party and have a good time. Before they realise it, all three are soon swept away by the passion enveloping the city and each must face their own personal problems that have huge reverberations for all those involved.
I loved the setting of this book; both 1960s Rome and the dramatic filming of Cleopatra are vividly brought to life. With the use of the real film stars, this film was so well researched that I actually wondered where the line between fiction and reality crossed. The filming scenes were also fascinating; I was enthralled by the details of the different stage sets and costumes used in the most expensive film ever made.
This is an amazing, passionate story that is full of romance, deceit, lies and movie star glamour. I felt like I was desperate to find out what would happen, but at the same time I did not want the book to end. I really recommend this fantastic read.
Thank you to Avon for sending me a copy to review.
Scroll down to read my interview with Gill.