Shortly after burying her unfaithful husband, Georgia Peyton unexpectedly inherits the derelict Stardust motel from a distant relative. Despite doubts from the community and the aunt who raised her, she is determined to breathe new life into it. But the guests who arrive aren’t what Georgia expects: Her gin-loving mother-in-law; her dead husband’s mistress; an attractive but down-on-his-luck drifter who’s tired of the endless road; and an aging Vaudeville entertainer with a disturbing link to Georgia’s past. Can Georgia find the courage to forgive those who’ve betrayed her, the grace to shelter those who need her, and the moxy to face the future? And will her dream of a new life under the flickering neon of the STARDUST ever come true?
It is pretty rare for me to read fiction set at any point in the past. I am a contemporary kind of girl. It’s what I write. It’s what I like to read. But one day, Carla Stewart asked if anyone wanted to read her latest novel, Stardust. At first, I didn’t respond because of that whole “contemporary” thing. Then I read the blurb. Hon, that is one intriguing idea.
The book came a couple of days before I left on vacation, and I decided there would be no better time to dive in.
Stardust absorbed the first day and a half of my beach trip. I planted myself on the deck and started reading. I read while I made dinner. I read while the rest of my family played games. I read while everyone else slept. I read for nearly two days until it was done because I couldn’t put it down. Then I handed it to my aunt, and I don’t think we ever saw her again that week.
The tone is what got me. There’s just an “air” about it as you read that makes you feel like you’re right there in the middle of the bayou with the characters, watching everything unfold, feeling Georgia’s inner pain in the face of the outer fear as polio strikes too close to home. It’s almost effortless, the way Carla Stewart tells Georgia’s story. Georgia’s Southern drawl comes through, almost like she’s taken a seat across from you to regale you with her history. She’s real. She’s flawed. She’s struggling. And she triumphs.
I don’t want to say too much, because I hate when reviewers do that. But, please, curl up with Stardust. You’ll be sad when you flip that last page but that’s okay… Carla’s got more where that came from.