You probably can imagine the scene – a film set, in the hills of Perugia, Italy, with three gorgeous starring women and their undeniably hunky male co-stars. It would be just as the title of Kate Forster’s first novel says, The Perfect Location. The three women could not be more different. Rose is a career star, glamorous on-screen and off, with a very private life in Melbourne and a string of successful films to her credit. Sapphira is a star too, but in a different way – playing the bad-girl, or action heroine, and with a dark secret that she desperately tries to hide from everyone around her. Enter Calypso, finally breaking into her first major film, scared, but ambitious and determined to cast off her own background and escape from her even more ambitious mother-manager by making a big name all for herself, and all by herself.
As these three women meet, they each surprisingly find friendship with each other and find that their co-stars and the film’s crew will actually be there to help and support them. For Rose, the pain of a broken marriage and being childless when all she wants is a baby of her own, is thrown into perspective when she meets widower Max and his three adorable boys. But can Max shake off his own baggage to see that Rose is right for him and the boys as she surely knows she is? Sapphira, on the other hand, is fleeing from a mistake in her past and tries to lose herself – in so doing, she finds support in the strangest of places and ends up staying on in Italy long after the film has finished production. And then there is Calypso, naive and ambitious – never a good combination. She finds herself being taken advantage of, both privately and publicly and has to learn all at once how to be her own person. She tries to resist the support offered by T.G., the film’s director, but he too knows a good thing when he sees it and won’t let her go.
This is a fun tale, though with plenty of quiet moments as each character has to discover her own depths before she can find her way out of the darkness. It feels like Kate Forster has real insight into the film industry and all its darker secrets about star behaviours, mummy-managers, the paparazzi and even the superstitions. I fell for the story the moment that the Italian housekeeper Lucia got involved with her special recipes, and after all nobody can resist The Perfect Location.
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