Book 2 – “The Trouble with Scarlett”

This book is also now available in Spanish – click here
Este libro está también disponible ahora en español – haga clic aquí


“The Trouble with Scarlett”

Book Two in the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah series

Summer, 1936: Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell’s first novel, takes the world by storm. Everyone knows Civil War pictures don’t make a dime, but renegade producer David O. Selznick snaps up the movie rights and suddenly America has just one question: Who will play Scarlett O’Hara?

When Gwendolyn Brick gets her hands on the book, the clouds part and the angels sing the Hallelujah Chorus. Only a real Southern belle can play Scarlett—and didn’t her mama raise her on stories of Sherman’s march and the damned Yankees? After years of slinging cigarettes at the Cocoanut Grove, Gwendolyn finds a new calling: to play Scarlett. But she’s not the only gal in town with a deep-fried accent. She’s going to have to stand out bigger than a hoop skirt at a Twelve Oaks barbeque to win that role.

Marcus Adler is the golden boy of Cosmopolitan Pictures, the studio William Randolph Hearst started for his mistress, Marion Davies. When Marcus’ screenplay becomes Davies’ first hit, he’s invited to Hearst Castle for the weekend. The kid who was kicked out of Pennsylvania gets to rub shoulders with Myrna Loy, Winston Churchill, and Katharine Hepburn—but when the trip turns fiasco, he starts sinking fast. He needs a new story, real big and real soon. So when F. Scott Fitzgerald moves into the Garden of Allah with a $1000-a-week MGM contract but no idea how to write a screenplay, Marcus says, “Pleased to meetcha. We need to talk.”

When Selznick asks George Cukor to direct Gone with the Wind, it’s the scoop of the year for Kathryn Massey, the Hollywood Reporter’s newest columnist. But dare she publish it? Scoops are the exclusive domain of the Hearst papers’ all-powerful, all-knowing, all-bitchy Louella Parsons. Nobody in Hollywood has ever dared to outscoop Louella—until now. When Louella comes back low and dirty, Kathryn’s boss lets her dangle like a scarecrow in a summer storm. Then the telephone rings. It’s Ida Koverman, Louis B. Mayer’s personal secretary, and she has a proposition she’d like to make.


The Trouble with Scarlett is the second in Martin Turnbull’s series of historical novels set during Hollywood’s golden age.

Read online now: Chapter One.



As a fan of The Garden on Sunset, it was a joy to join again in the endearing story of the three Hollywood ascendants: Marcus, Kathryn, and Gwendolyn. Through an adept combination of skillful character development and evocative settings, Martin Turnbull has, in the second novel in a promised series, become even more of a solid and resonant storyteller.

In The Trouble with Scarlett, Turnbull’s characters have become (as real people do over time) more stable and clearly defined, and what might have deteriorated to an expected “gimmick” of involving his fictional characters with real people in historic events has instead become even more seamless, what might have been a clumsy technical contrivance is now an organic and properly rhythmic narrative voice.

Even when real people and events are portrayed, rather than retelling the same old warhorse tales that have been seen and heard a million times, Turnbull has chosen his supporting cast and settings wisely, in order to enhance and focus his narrative and deepen the reader’s understanding of and affection for his characters. Rather than this calling attention to artifice, his deftness creates situations and events that ring absolutely true, and that range from the hilarious to the heartbreaking–sometimes in the same paragraph.

In The Trouble with Scarlett and its predecessor, The Garden on Sunset, Turnbull has created a gentle, deeply-felt, and intelligent construct for telling relatable human stories with endearing characters in a delicious and fascinating setting. These novels will delight movie buffs with their erudite references and meticulously accurate people and places; and educate neophytes (the right ones, anyway) to seek out the films, personalities, and historic events and places that are portrayed. Jeff Kurtti, author of The Great Movie Musical Trivia Book and How Does the Show Go On: An Introduction to the Theater


I have a confession, I wasn’t looking as forward to this book as I was the first in the series, The Garden On Sunset. That’s because the years that covered the end of the silent film era and the dawning of ‘the talkies’, to me, are the richest most fascinating period of time in this town that I call home. So, I figured I would find this second book, “The Trouble With Scarlett” to be a pleasant diversion and that’s about it.

I was wrong, and how. What I failed to take into consideration is that, through Turnbull’s rich colorations, I’ve gotten to know, care about, root for and love Marcus, Kathryn, and Gwendolyn. And I was foolish enough to think they wouldn’t have as much exciting doings during the shenanigans of the late 30s. Silly Me!

I highly recommend you hop on board and cheer these three on. Incidentally, you’ll also hiss and boo the awful Louella Parsons, shed a tear over the loss of Jean Harlow, and pity poor Scotty Fitzgerald. Heck, you’ll even sit in on a costume conference with George Cukor and Clark Gable! Philip Mershon, Felix in Hollywood Tour Company


After reading Martin Turnbull’s first book in his ‘Garden of Allah’ series, I was anxious to read ‘The Trouble With Scarlett’. Reuniting with Marcus, Kathryn and Gwendolyn was like meeting old friends again. What an entertaining group they are as they hobnob with Hollywood’s most famous folks. This second book has as its backdrop that exciting time when Hollywood was in the throes of casting Scarlett O’Hara. Of course, Gwendolyn thought that the part was made for her–Selznick thought otherwise despite Gwennie’s outrageous attempts at getting his attention. Then we have Marcus who made the ultimate faux pas in front of William Randolph Hearst, while Kathryn took on gossip queen Louella Parsons. Never a dull moment. Looking forward to book three! Did I hear someone mention Citizen Kane?? Debra Ann Pawlak, author of Bringing Up Oscar: The Story of the Men and Women Who Founded the Academy

Sample reviews from readers (

“What a vivid and engrossing book this is – once again Mr Turnbull transported me to a different time, a different place and a different reality. I couldn’t put this book down (obviously, it only came out a few days ago). More adventures with Marcus, Kathryn and the lovable Gwendolyn. With the backdrop of the Golden Age of Hollywood, and of course the Garden of Allah hotel, his world comes alive with details and conversations that make you feel like you are there trying to get a screen test for a part in Gone With The Wind, having lunch at Bullocks Wilshire or cocktails with Dorothy Parker and F. Scott Fitzgerald. I love this series so far and look with great anticipation for the next installment.”

“One thing that never gets old–celebrity gossip. On the surface, this novel is akin to People magazine (if People magazine had been around in the 1930s). With every page there are famous names, fabulous fashions, relationships forming and relationships dissolving. Beautiful homes. Celebrity parties. Excess to the nth degree. Turnbull’s Garden of Allah novels are pure fun with famous actors, directors, writers and moguls as far as the eye can see. (These books would make terrific movies or television series) The author knows the period. He understands it. He brings the golden age of Hollywood to life. Reading it is like being a fly on the wall at an exclusive party.

On another level, if you’re a fan of the movie for Gone With The Wind, this novel is a must read. Searching for the actress to play Scarlett O’Hara obsessed the nation for a year. And the way the movie was made? Read the book and see for yourself.

The Trouble With Scarlett is much more than gossip or history. It follows the adventures and misadventures of three friends trying to make it big in Hollywood. Beautiful Gwendolyn who’ll do anything to get her big break in the movies; sweet, troubled Marcus the talented screenwriter; and sensible Kathryn, girl reporter. Over and over they’re forced to ask themselves: Just how far am I willing to go to follow my dreams?”

This is an amazing combination of historical Hollywood personalities and fun interesting fictional characters. Martin Turnbull has definitely been added to my favorite authors list. The Trouble with Scarlett kept me interested and had me laughing. The story makes you feel like you are there as the search for Scarlett unfolds and the drama behind the screen unravels. I have enjoyed both books in this series and look forward to the next.

Martin Turnbull has succeeded in doing what would seem to be the impossible – transporting readers to the Golden Age of Hollywood with a story that has it’s main characters mixing and mingling with the people and at the places all classic movie-aholics have heard about for so many years.


See all reader reviews for The Trouble with Scarlett on


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 and ebook
  • Published: 2012

Available in all formats – ebook and paperback

Amazon (US) Kindle ebook

Amazon (US) Paperback

Barnes & Noble Nook ebook

Barnes & Noble (paperback)

Apple iBook

Amazon (UK) paperback

Amazon (UK) Kindle ebook

Book Depository paperback (free worldwide shipping)

Kobo ebook


→ Audio book version: or or iTunes


 THE TROUBLE WITH SCARLETT is now available in Spanish:


"The Trouble with Scarlett" - Spanish version - "El Problema con Scarlett" by Martin Turnbull

Amazon (US)

Amazon (UK)

Amazon (Spain)


Barnes & Noble Nook



Overdrive (Germany)


And when you have read it (and assuming, of course, that you enjoyed it), if you have the chance and inclination, I’d really appreciate it if you could leave a review on my Amazon page. Rate it as many stars as you see fit, and give your honest opinion. The more reviews a book has, the higher its Amazon profile. Thanks!

Or at the very least take a half-second and click on the “LIKE” button underneath the book’s title on the Amazon page. Apparently that helps a lot too! Thank you!


  • Book 1 – “The Garden on Sunset”
  • Book 2 – “The Trouble with Scarlett”
  • Book 3 – “Citizen Hollywood”
  • Book 4 – “Searchlights and Shadows”
  • Book 5 – “Reds in the Beds”
  • Book 6 – “Twisted Boulevard”
  • Book 7 – “Tinseltown Confidential”
  • Book 8 – “City of Myths”
  • Book 9 – details to be announced


Martin Turnbull is currently offering the first two books in his ‘Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels’ for FREE. All you have to do is tell us where to send them!
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2 Responses to Book 2 – “The Trouble with Scarlett”

  1. Cynthia Powers says:

    I’ve just finished, and enjoyed, The Garden on Sunset, and am looking forward to reading all of your books in this series–and your short story (thanks for sharing!)–and ….

    This isn’t news to you: you are a skilled writer and storyteller and it is a pleasure to partake of your talents!

    • Hello Cynthia, and thank you for taking the time to let me know how much your enjoyed my first book. I’m glad you like it so much that you want to continue the ride with Marcus, Kathryn and Gwendolyn. There’s a lot more where that came from!

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