Book Review: All That Glitters

We see them every day on television: celebrities, musical artists, actors and actresses – people we admire and look up to. We see glitz, glamour, and more money than we’d know what to do with. But what we don’t see is what happens when the cameras stop rolling. It was the great William Shakespeare who wrote “all that glisters is not gold,” proving that looks can be deceiving. For some, an outward appearance is merely a façade, a mask that hides a true nature. It’s only when they look in a mirror and see the reflection staring back at them that they realize who they truly are.

Ashley Quinn’s new novel, All That Glitters, gives us a glimpse into the ritzy life of a pop music phenomenon. Parties, celebrities, a wonderful and doting boyfriend, and the constant barrage of paparazzi are all part of Michelle Murphy’s world, but all is not as it seems. Despite finally getting out of her small Florida hometown and making it big in Los Angeles, she can’t help feeling like something’s missing. She’d once had laughter, real friends, and someone who really loved her, but that was a long time ago, in a past she had long since buried.

Across the country, Alexis Vlodosky is just about to finish up her residency in the same little Florida town she’d lived in since she was thirteen. Her life wasn’t glamorous – a small apartment, good friends, and a job that she loved – but she liked it that way. After a rough few years, she longed for the silence and stillness that Coral Breeze provided. But walking through the town also brought back memories for Alexis, memories of a long lost friend and first love that she’d tried desperately to leave in her past.

When fate steps in and Michelle finds herself back in Coral Breeze and face-to-face with Alexis, she must finally face the past she tried so hard to suppress. But with two very stubborn and successful women, working through painful memories can be even more difficult. Throw in family struggles, crazed fans, an old rival, and that same doting boyfriend, and hilarity is sure to ensue.

All That Glitters is a wonderful story that draws the reader in right from the start. As the story flips between past and present, we learn why Alexis is so driven towards helping people and why Michelle is so afraid of letting her true self shine through. Ashley Quinn does a great job developing characters who struggle with many of the same issues we all deal with: our self-identities, substance abuse, personal relationships, and those often-hated high school years. All that glisters really isn’t gold, but when we take a deeper look at ourselves, who we really are, our true selves shine through.

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