Saturday, 11 May 2019

Book Review & Book Bingo - Round 10: The Cinema at Starlight Creek by Alli Sinclair

Book Bingo is a reading challenge hosted by Theresa Smith Writes , Mrs B’s Book Reviews and The Book Muse. Every second Saturday, book bingo participants reveal which bingo category they have read and what book they chose. 

This week I have chosen the category 'Book with a place in title"


The Cinema at Starlight Creek
Alli Sinclair

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers Australia 
Imprint: Mira-AU
Publication date: 20th May 2019
Pages: 384
RRP: $29.99AUD
Format read: Uncorrected proof paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher

Queensland, 1994 When location manager Claire Montgomery arrives in rural Queensland to work on a TV mini-series, she's captivated by the beauty of Starlight Creek and the surrounding sugarcane fields. Working in a male-dominated industry is challenging, but Claire has never let that stop her pursuing her dreams-until now. She must gain permission to film at Australia's most historically significant art deco cinema, located at Starlight Creek. But there is trouble ahead. The community is fractured and the cinema's reclusive owner, Hattie Fitzpatrick, and her enigmatic great nephew, Luke Jackson, stand in her way, putting Claire's career-launching project-and her heart-at risk.

Hollywood, 1950 Lena Lee has struggled to find the break that will catapult her into a star with influence. She longs for roles about strong, independent women but with Hollywood engulfed in politics and a censorship battle, Lena's timing is wrong. Forced to keep her love affair with actor Reeves Garrity a secret, Lena puts her career on the line to fight for equality for women in an industry ruled by men. Her generous and caring nature steers her onto a treacherous path, leaving Lena questioning what she is willing to endure to get what she desires.

The Cinema at Starlight Creek has a dual time line narrative. Moving from 1950’s Hollywood to 1994 and a small country town in northern Queensland’s cane belt.

Claire is working on a min-series featuring art-deco architect Amelia Elliott. When her first cinema location falls through she arrives in the small, neglected town of Starlight Creek, the location of another Amelia Elliott designed cinema. The cinema is ideal but first she must get the approval of the cinema’s reclusive owner Hattie Fitzpatrick and her handsome but surly great nephew Luke Jackson.

Lena Lee has been in Hollywood for three years trying to break into the big time when her first major role is axed by the censorship board.

The Cinema at Starlight Creek is a sweeping tale about realising your dreams. The way women’s roles have been undervalued and underpaid is a major theme throughout the story. In 1950’s Hollywood we see women’s roles axed through censorship when the Hays Code deemed them too brazen for the screen. The conditions and pay for females was much less than their male counterparts. Lena’s character was strong and outspoken, but always fair. She was continually campaigning for better conditions for all women.

I did feel more invested in Claire’s story and I loved the descriptions of the Queensland town of Starlight Creek. Claire had her own battle with realising her dreams at the expense of finding love and was starting to think maybe you can’t have it all.

There are many parallels between Lena and Claire’s lives, aims and ideals. Both women had strong character, often empowering those around them with their passion and drive.

The Cinema at Starlight Creek is a story that will appeal to a wide readership. An Historical Fiction with a romantic heart and a small country town in Australia that has fractured and needed a stranger to show them the way to unite.

 My rating   4.5/5

*this review is part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie author challenge
and book #16 in the Australian Women Writers challenge


Photo credit:Goodreads

Alli Sinclair is an Australian multi-award winning author published who has lived in Argentina, Peru, and Canada. She’s climbed some of the world’s highest mountains and worked as a tour guide in South and Central America. Australia has always been close to Alli’s heart as she loves the diverse landscapes and the rich multicultural heritage of this wonderful land.
She holds an annual Writers at Sea cruise retreat and presents writing workshops around Australia. Alli also works in film and is involved in international projects. She's a volunteer role model with Books in Homes and is an ambassador for the Fiji Book Drive.
Alli's books explore history, culture, love and grief, and relationships between family, friends and lovers. She captures the romance and thrill of discovering old and new worlds, and loves taking readers on a journey of discovery.




  1. Great review, I loved this too. Interestingly, I liked Lena's story just a tad more than Claire's

    1. I've never been a Hollywood watcher so the modern day story appealed more. Just shows there is something for everyone in this book.