• James King

A captivating romantic flight of fancy

True Grandeur turned me into a voyeur in the socialite fantasy world of Hollywood, if I may describe it as such, as I have never been there. The early chapters of flowery prose made it difficult to suspend my disbelief. But as the story unfolded, I found I unwittingly had.


True Grandeur

by Cal R. Barnes

Genre: Literary Romance - Novel

34 Amazon customer reviews. Average rating - 4 Stars


Read more about the literary romance story here at Amazon


TRUE GRANDEUR is the tale of Conrad Arlington, a young man who moves to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming a great artist. Within a few short years of his arrival, Conrad’s success as a writer brings him to the attention of Gracie Garrison, a beautiful and alluring socialite whose glamorous lifestyle is just as mysterious as the rumors that surround her. After spending a spirited and adventurous night on the town together – one fueled by an excess of beautiful people, extravagant parties, gallery openings, and the madness of a fallen director – Conrad ultimately falls in love with her, believing them to be destined. However, when he awakens the next morning to find that Gracie is gone, he is distraught, and thus embarks on his relentless journey to find her, resulting in a tumultuous spiral of passion, art, and romance as he searches his soul to try and uncover the greatest mystery of all – true love.


James King says;


Literary romance is not a genre I generally read. How many men do? But every now and again I come across a book that demands my attention.


True Grandeur turned me into a voyeur in the socialite fantasy world of Hollywood, if I may describe it as such, as I have never been there. The early chapters of flowery prose made it difficult to suspend my disbelief. But as the story unfolded, I found I unwittingly had.


The protagonist Conrad Arlington, although naïve and somewhat arrogant is a compelling character. One who constantly battles with his emotions and frustration in a roller coaster ride. He tries to make sense of the stream of strange people who flow through his life.


The perfect Gracie is at the centre of a plethora of alcoholic parties. And Conrad’s infatuation with her turns him inside out.


When she mysteriously disappears, he feels rejected and runs into the waiting arms of her model friend Evie. He is totally confused, as Evie replaces Gracie and becomes the best thing that ever happened to him. Then just as mysteriously as she disappeared, Gracie reappears, as though nothing had happened. Naturally he dumps Evie.


On his journey Conrad painfully comes to see the world that has gobbled him up for what it is. A plastic, decadent, unfulfilling and empty place, inhabited by talentless dreamers. They have the money, and he believes he has the talent. But he doesn’t belong.


Yet he sees something no-one else can in Gracie, the girl at the centre of it all. When she realises he is not like the others, who she keeps at arms-length in order to survive, she doesn’t know how to deal with it. Conrad can reveal little about Gracie, other than the superficial, to the reader, because he himself is denied access.


So, on the surface, the story may appear flimsy, and her character, lifeless. But there is more unsaid which encouraged me to look deeper into the characters imaginations, to understand their emotional struggles.


The author draws the reader in, making the story more interesting. I won’t spoil the rest of it, save to say that the ending leaves it up to the reader to determine what happens to Conrad and Gracie. If you expect to be fed the answers on a platter you may be disappointed.


Depending on your mind-set this book is either a simple love story or a thought-provoking read. I enjoyed it for the latter. Read it and see how it grabs you.


Listen to an excerpt


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