Press & Praise

Martin Turnbull’s Garden of Allah novels have been optioned by film and television producer, Tabrez Noorani.

See:

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PRESS

 

♦ Martin’s book reading at the LAVA Literary Salon at Musso & Frank — That Side of Paradise: Dorothy Parker & F. Scott Fitzgerald in the Garden of Allah.

♦ Martin’s radio interview with Jack Marino on his Warrior Filmmaker show. (or go to the direct link here.)

♦ Dorothy Parker Society: Revisiting the Garden of Allah

♦ California Home + Design: Silent Film Star’s Legacy Turned L.A. Strip Mall

♦ Ken McAlpine’s West is Eden column for KCET: Fame and the Little Prince

♦ LAVA Sunday Salon “Jazz Age Los Angeles
View the video taken of Martin’s talk: The Garden of Allah hotel in the Jazz Age and beyond.

♦ Interview with Richard and Kim from Esotouric on their You Can’t Eat the Sunshine podcast.

♦ Interview on KPCC’s “Off Ramp” show: Long thought lost, costumes of silent film star Alla Nazimova found in trunk.

♦ Interview with Rose Kingsley on her blog: Shylock and Shakespeare.

♦ Interview with Pop Culture Mysteries.

♦ Interview with Awesome Gang – “where awesome readers meet awesome writers.”

♦ “Local Author Spotlight” interview with the Los Angeles Public Library

Off The Shelf included The Garden on Sunset in their list of: 11 Scandalous Novels that Illuminate the Golden Years of Hollywood

The Odd Podcast, with Joe Parisi – episode #39: “Garden of Allah with Martin Turnbull”

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The Garden on Sunset

  • Book One of the Garden of Allah novels
  • Historical Fiction, set in Hollywood from the late 1920s to the early 1930s
  • ISBN – 978-1466218956
  • 324 pages
  • Available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook
  • Published: 2011
  • More information
  • Link to Amazon
  • Read CHAPTER ONE

Praise for The Garden on Sunset

“Like Nathanael West’s The Day of the Locust, Martin Turnbull’s Garden on Sunset is steeped in Hollywood decadence–yet not so jaundiced and infinitely more fun. It grabs you by the throat and plops you smack down in the middle of Tinseltown during Prohibition, scraping elbows along the way with a constellation of stars, from Tallulah Bankhead to Greta Garbo. It’s one helluva kick-off for a promised series of page-turners. Count me in.” — Sam Irvin, author of Kay Thompson: From Funny Face to Eloise

“What a fun glimpse into old Hollywood and the fabulous Garden of Allah Hotel with its fascinating tenants. The three main characters, Marcus, Kathryn and Gwendolyn mix it up with such legendary names as Ramon Novarro, Tallulah Bankhead and George Cukor–not to mention the exotic Nazimova herself. Made me wish I was there!” — Debra Ann Pawlak, author of Bringing Up Oscar: The Story of the Men and Women Who Founded the Academy

“Hollywood history is my business and I’m here to shout the good news: Turnbull has done his research! The unerring accuracy is such a treat for me to see as I’m so used to seeing the history of Hollywood butchered. Down to nuance and minutiae he’s got it right. The characters, both fictional and historical, are spot on and it’s a rollicking ride they go on! I love being made to feel that I actually got the chance to spend time in late 20s/early 30s Tinseltown.”Philip Mershon, Felix in Hollywood Tour Company

Transport yourself back to Hollywood during its golden days. Follow the characters to the Cocoanut Grove, the Biltmore Bowl and the Brown Derby; experience first hand the stock market crash, the rise of talkies, the reversal of Prohibition, the Long Beach earthquake. As a person who is fascinated with the 1930′s, I ate up every page. – DearMrGable.com book review

Sample reviews from readers (Amazon.com)

“Martin Turnbull combines fiction with history and gives the reader a glimpse into 1920s Hollywood and Los Angeles. I usually finish a book within a day or two, but I took my time with “The Garden on Sunset” and looked up every name and historical location that Martin referenced because I love Hollywood history. I wanted to know more about the people and places. Martin’s historical references are quite accurate and intriguing. The characters in this book take the reader through their trials and triumphs as they try to survive in Hollywood and find fame and fortune. If you have ever wondered what it may have been like to live during the golden age of Hollywood, this book will take you there. Fun read!”

I just finished The Garden on Sunset, what a brilliantly written book – I couldn’t put it down! The story unfolds at a perfect pace, bringing you into this world so fully that you’d swear it was a conversation amongst friends. Combining the story with the dazzling history of Los Angeles only makes it more real. I recommend this book to everyone, whether you’re familiar with the Hollywood of yore or not. Greatly anticipating the next installment. Thank you Mr. Turnbull!

See all reader reviews for The Garden on Sunset on Amazon.com

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The Trouble with Scarlett

  • Book Two of the Garden of Allah novels
  • Historical Fiction, set in Hollywood from the mid to late 1930s
  • ISBN – 978-1480044777
  • 346 pages
  • Available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook
  • Published: 2011
  • More information
  • Link to Amazon
  • Read CHAPTER ONE

♦ Jaye’s Love Affair with Genre Fiction – highlighting The Trouble with Scarlett

 

Praise for The Trouble with Scarlett

As someone who adores the 1920s and 30s and the Hollywood characters who populated the era, I found Martin Turnbull’s “The Trouble with Scarlett” to be SUCH a treat. From beginning to end, it’s a joy to read; I felt completely immersed in 1937/38. Turnbull’s fictional characters, Marcus, Gwendolyn and Kathryn, are just as engaging as the celebrities who make appearances. He is a master at capturing the era–everything from his descriptions of places to slang phrases and dialogue is spot on. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It really is a truly enjoyable story. I was terribly sad when I finished it! (But looking forward to the next book in the series!) Would love to see these books optioned for film!

After completing the first book in this series, The Garden on Sunset, in one day, I was anxious to start the second book, The Trouble with Scarlett. Mr. Turnbull did not disappoint me, once again delivering a fabulous book continuing the story of the three main characters in their attempts to become “someone” in Hollywood. Mr. Turnbull is adept with his descriptions and makes every page come to life for the reader. Having grown up in California, I was familiar with many of the places in the book but even if you have never been to Hollywood, I believe that Mr. Turbull’s writing will take you on a journey not just over the road, but back in time. Fabulous read and highly recommended. I’m waiting….waiting…..waiting….for number three in the series!

I have really loved both books in this series so far. I can’t wait for more!
I live in Los Angeles and have always loved the movies, but not particularly stories set in Los Angeles because the setting is so familiar to me. Mr. Turnbull has made Los Angeles into a place I want to visit! His three main protagonists, Marcus, Kathryn and Gwendolyn, are three very different people with drives and passions to succeed in the movie business as script writer, reporter and actress, respectively. The setting of the Garden of Allah, where they live, throws them together, but you can really believe they would become friends. Their adventures and misfortunes are interesting, fun and touching.
The history is also fascinating. It seems to be so well researched. I thought I knew a lot of movie trivia, but I am constantly learning something new. Sometimes I even Google a situation, only to find out that it was true after all!!
The setting of the Garden of Allah as their residence gives us all the opportunity to have celebrities of the day involved in stories in moments when they aren’t historically in the public eye. This gives these legends human qualities and makes them real people for me.
If you want a treat of a read that zips, is fun and interesting then these books are for you! I know I want more!

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Citizen Hollywood

  • Book Three of the Garden of Allah novels
  • Historical Fiction, set in Hollywood from the mid 1939 to late 1941
  • ISBN – 978-1494963972
  • 380 pages
  • Available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook
  • Published: 2013
  • More information
  • Link to Amazon
  • Read CHAPTER ONE

Sample reviews from readers (Amazon.com)

5 STARS
I literally just finished Citizen Hollywood, the third in Martin Turnbull’s “The Garden of Allah” novels. Once again he has delivered. Gwendolyn, Katherine and Marcus are so well developed that you feel like they are old friends. The way Martin brings old Hollywood to life is a joy and I find myself wishing I had been a part of it. Since reading the trilogy, I can’t watch an old movie with Orson Wells, Tallulah Bankhead, Errol Flynn, Humprey Bogart, et al, without thinking about the residents of The Garden and wondering how Gwendolyn, Katherine and Marcus would feel about how their movies have stood the test of time and what Hollywood has become over the years… Please tell me there is a fourth book on the way.

5 STARS
Having read the other two already (and out of order), I bought the 3rd one last Friday night and finished it Saturday night. I literally stopped for bio breaks and food….that’s it. I love the characters with all their flaws – they seem real – and the period seems spot on. I moved to Los Angeles in 1986 and love all the history. Very familiar with the area where the Garden of Allah used to be. I’ve already emailed the author to see when the next book is coming out. Hope you enjoy the series as much as I do.

5 STARS
I’m completely hooked on this series. The characters are completely affable and I love the plot. It’s the kind of book that you don’t want to end because it’s so enjoyable, yet you compulsively keep turning the page thus ending the journey too early. I look forward to reading more. Mr. Turnbull is a master at cliffhangers, breathes vivid life into long gone celebrities in a manner that allows one to live vicariously through the story’s hero and heroines. This is a great and fascinating period in entertainment history and is thoroughly a worthwhile read. Have fun!

5 STARS
Living in the shadow of the Hollywood sign drew me to the The Garden On Sunset (Book One in this series) in the first place. I enjoyed getting to know the main characters as much as the book’s realistic portrayal of Hollywood at the time. I went on to read The Trouble With Scarlett (the second in the series) and was equally enthralled – so much so that I had to re-watch Gone With The Wind (SPOILER ALERT) to see if I could spot Marcus in the battle scene. After reading the book, I must say, I actually enjoy watching the film more now. And then came Citizen Hollywood, in my opinion, the best of the series yet! By now the character development is such that I can actually anticipate how Gwendolyn, Marcus and Kathryn will react to a situation and sometimes be right, unless of course, the author has a juicy surprise waiting for us! If you’re a fan of historical fiction, The Garden Of Allah series has everything you want – a compelling narrative, lovable characters (oh, and some you’ll love to hate), historical accuracy, page-turning excitement, and something that is important to me, believable dialog from the era. Citizen Hollywood, like its two predecessors, instantly transports its readers to that special time and place in Hollywood, and by the time you’re finished, you don’t ever want to leave. C’mon HBO, Showtime, and AMC – what are you waiting for? It’s time to check into The Garden Of Allah!

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Searchlights and Shadows

  • Book Four of the Garden of Allah novels
  • Historical Fiction, set in Hollywood during World War II
  • ISBN – 978-1506024615
  • 418 pages
  • Available in paperback and ebook
  • Published: 2015
  • Read CHAPTER ONE

Sample reviews from readers (Amazon.com)

5 STARS
William Feather once wrote: “Finishing a good book is like losing a friend.” It one of my favorite sayings because it is so true. In this fourth installment of the “Garden of Allah” series the author gives us a more serious and stressful look at not only Hollywood and the Golden Age of Tinsel Town, but also the fears, apprehension and stress the effects of WW II had on the people we have come to know and love in the first three stories. Mr. Turnbull continues to take us back to the exciting days of the 1940’s and the challenges Hollywood faced with the beginning of the blacklisting and the sometimes shady and underground activities some had to turn to in order to survive and make their dreams come true in Hollywood. I for one can’t wait for the next installment in this series.

5 STARS
How can this series get any better? I have read all the books and absolutely devoured this one in a few days. The plot twists are so enjoyable and the relationships never cease to amaze me. I can’t decide which book is my favorite so far because each one offers it’s own great story. This one takes place when our characters have been living at the Garden of Allah for 18 years. They have experienced a lot and still there is a lot for them to go through. Since they have been together for so long; some of their friends are starting to get old and pass away. This book did make me cry but I won’t say anymore.

5 STARS
I am on this the fourth book in the series and love it. I adore ‘Old’ Hollywood, as a teen I read every autobiography, biography, anything that had to do with this era. The books have had a true depiction of what occurred during this time period and I can only hope that more will be forthcoming. I highly recommend the entire series to anyone who not only likes a good story but will find the Hollywood background as fascinating as I do.

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Reds in the Beds

  • Book Five of the Garden of Allah novels
  • Historical Fiction, set in Hollywood following World War II
  • ISBN – 978-1523288458
  • 376 pages
  • Available in paperback and ebook
  • Published: 2016
  • Read CHAPTER ONE

Sample reviews from readers (Amazon.com)

5 STARS
Not since my childhood have I ever wanted to crawl into a book and live with these people as much as I do when I read Martin’s books! I feel as if I’ve known Marcus, Kathryn and Gwendolyn forever. Martin does an amazing job of bringing these people to life and you love them more and more with each new book. I couldn’t put it down once I started and was sad when I finished and would have to wait to find out what happens to my friends next.

5 STARS
Martin Turnbull scored another hit in this fifth installment of his Garden of Allah series. Set during the dark days of the “Red Scare” and HUAC tribunals, Kathryn, Gwen and Marcus weave their way through the troubling times of Hollywood’s paranoia during the “Commie crackdown” that had everyone looking over their shoulders. … It’s one of the few series I’ve re-read more than once, because while I’m reading these books I’m IN Hollywood’s golden age. Who wouldn’t want to have a drink with Errol Flynn, Dorothy Parker and Humphrey Bogart? Get this book. Get the whole series. You won’t be sorry. It really is a time machine that takes you to an exciting, dramatic and funny time in history. You’ll be glad you did.

5 STARS
Turnbull is a master of the page-turner. I’ve loved rereading the previous books in order to pick up details I’ve missed the first time, and this installment will be no different. Once again, the laugh-out-loud episodes are deftly intermixed with touching drama, suspense, and tests on old friendships. Kathryn, Gwendolyn and Marcus are still incredibly likable characters, this time fighting the postwar witch hunt raised by the U.S. government against Hollywood … I can’t recommend this series highly enough, and can’t wait for the next book.

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Twisted Boulevard

  • Book Six of the Garden of Allah novels
  • Historical Fiction, set in Hollywood in the late 1940s
  • ISBN – 978-1539823810
  • 422 pages
  • Available in paperback and ebook
  • Published: 2016
  • Read CHAPTER ONE

Sample reviews from readers (Amazon.com)

5 STARS
Martin Turnbull has done it again! He’s recreated the glamour and drama that was Hollywood and brought her stars back to life if only for a brief moment in the reader’s mind. Marcus, Kathryn and Gwendolyn are more than characters in a book – they are friends, good friends and one weeps with them and cheers with them as each page is turned. Bravo, Mr.Turnbull!

5 STARS
The worst part of Martin Turnbull’s novel Twisted Boulevard is now that I have read it, I ready for the next one in the Garden of Allah Series. Great book, great series.

5 STARS
Read this book through in several sittings. It has a pull and fascination like the movie cliff hanger serials. Each book in this series gives an historical picture of Hollywood as seen through the eyes of three different characters. Am now tapping my foot and waiting for the next one.

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6 Responses to Press & Praise

  1. Russell Taylor says:

    Love the books can’t wait for the third one to come out this fall

  2. I am delighted to have discovered these books and your website. Have just ordered The Trouble with Scarlett. I am working on the last chapter of a book (Such Mad Fun) about Jane Hall’s journey from a mining town in Arizona to Manhattan’s Café Society and on to Hollywood where she was a screenwriter at MGM, Universal and RKO between 1938 and 1942. Much of the book focuses on her Hollywood years and the Garden of Allah comes quite a bit. She started out there in a room in the main building (Fitzgerald was there at the same time) and went back after renting two apartments to have much more space in a villa. Jane loved the villa! She stayed there with her dog Kate real named Katherine Scarlett O’Hara because the search was on for Scarlett when she rescued Kate outside Chasen’s during the March 1938 flood in Los Angeles.

    It’s wonderful that you found the model of the Garden of Allah. Thanks for all the pictures.

    Jane (my mother) gave a somewhat tongue-in-cheek description of a scene at the Garden of Allah one day before she went over to Warner Bros. to take a look at a new Bette Davis film for Cosmopolitan magazine:
    “It isn’t that we don’t Face Things out here; sooner or later even a Hollywood Hedonist has to crawl out of her swimming pool and snag a Deadline. The lawn in front of my villa (that’s what I live in — a villa) was strewn with orange peels, old bottles and Nunnally Johnson. Pare Lorentz was quietly dozing in his Early Thirties; from the pool came happy cries of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Laughton. Beyond the pool were [playwright] Marc Connelly and Franchot Tone. Can you imagine working? We will leave these Big Shots and get over to Warner Brothers.”

    Looking forward to your next book.

    • Robin, I LOVE that your mother actually stayed at the Garden of Allah! And if her excerpt from Cosmopolitan is anything to go by, I’m very much looking forward to reading your biography on her!

  3. Dorothea Lack says:

    I just read the first three novels in this series, and I absolutely loved them. I am just old enough to remember some of these stars and their movies, and the books do an excellent job of recapping that golden era. Thank you so much Mr. Turnbull for the wonderful entertainment. Can’t wait for the next one.

    • Hi Dorothy. Thanks for stopping by and letting me know how much you’ve enjoyed my work. I VERY much appreciate that. And the good news is the next book will be out soon – I’m shooting for mid January 2015.

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