A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Friday, May 3, 2019

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine- Feature and Review


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 working-class roots, Thomas is a stranger in this opulent world of private jets and sprawling mansions.

Then he meets Matilda Duplaine.

Matilda is a beautiful and mysterious young woman who has never left the lush Bel-Air estate where she was raised. Thomas is immediately entranced by the enigmatic girl and the two begin a secret love affair. But what starts as an enchanted romance soon unravels a web of secrets and lies that could destroy their lives and the lives of everyone around them forever.

Filled with unforgettable characters and charm, The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine is a sparkling love letter to Los Angeles and a captivating journey beyond the golden gates of its most glamorous estates. Timeless, romantic and utterly absorbing, it is a mesmerizing and poignant exploration of life's unexpected riches.



The Gilded Life of Matilda DuplaineThe Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine by Alex Brunkhorst
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Although, we know from the start that the happily ever after Thomas is hoping for won’t come to fruition, at least not in the way he imagines, and that he is headed for a fall, we watch him learn some wonderful, but painful, and valuable lessons.  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 mystery included. As long as you know going in what to expect, it is a good story, maybe a touch ambitious, but, it is an easy, fast read, that will impress you, leaving you to ponder upon the story long after you turned the final page.






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 vivid imagination. 

I went to an all-girls Catholic high school in Milwaukee and it was then that I met a teacher, Mr. Grandy, who first noticed my talent for writing. I did what any other high schooler would do, though – I ignored his advice to pursue writing and instead studied economics at Georgetown University, determined to work on Wall Street. (I was so obsessed with that dream I had a picture of Michael Milken on my bulletin board.)

After three years working in finance, I moved to Los Angeles, a city I had only visited once, on little more than a whim. Once I got there, I decided that my lifelong dream of working in finance wasn’t agreeing with me, and I begged my way into United Talent Agency, where I started in the mailroom and then worked for the head of the TV Literary Department. 

Soon after, inspired by the creativity around me in Hollywood, I finally took Mr. Grandy’s advice and began writing – a short story for an ex-boyfriend that turned into the novel The Mating Season, which was published by St. Martin’s Press. At this point I decided I needed a more “author-friendly” occupation, so I started working in high-end real estate, and I eventually founded the popular website Bungalux.com on luxury living. 

The Gilded Life of Matilda Deplane was inspired by many of my friends who, unlike me, live truly gilded lives, and my crush on a boy I only saw on Sundays.

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