I made the mistake of thinking Laura Lamont was some lesser-known film star with whom I wasn't familiar. Turns out she came straight from Emma Straub's imagination. The author did a lot of research about the golden age of Hollywood, and she put great care into the development of her story. Sorry to say, without any actual Hollywood touchstones, there's not enough stardust to keep it interesting. The novel is rather bland and lacks the tang of reality. Even the film studios, execs, and names of other film stars are made up. You can guess who some of them are based on, but without real names and places, it just doesn't feel authentic.For the character of Laura Lamont, Emma Straub has cobbled together a composite portrait from events that could apply to a variety of real starlets from the era. Laura is a generic example of the lives of small-town girls who made it big in Hollywood and were turned into commodities by the studios. Elsa Emerson of Door County, Wisconsin goes to Hollywood, gets discovered, and is made over into the new persona of Laura Lamont. Her star shines brightly and briefly, then fizzles, and her life goes downhill from there. What I found most interesting was the way actors and actresses were essentially owned by the studios back in the heyday of film-star mystique. If you were under contract, they controlled every aspect of your life and cultivated an image you were required to maintain. If an actress had a baby, she wasn't allowed to be seen again in public until she'd regained her pre-pregnancy figure. All details of your private life were engineered by the studio to fit the biography they had created for you. If they saw fit, they'd rewrite your entire life story.The story begins with some promise, but becomes too devoted to the domestic angle of Laura Lamont's life. As such it conveys little of the glitter and scandal of Hollywood in the old days.