Hollywood invades the everglades.
WHEN A LARGE Hollywood production crew invades tiny Vireo, Florida to shoot a feature-length film in the Everglades, local sisters Myra and Emma Rosenquest get caught up in the excitement. Determined to escape the tedium of waiting tables at her stepfather’s rural diner, Emma sets her sights on breaking free from her “old world” family and learning the movie trade but, to succeed, the rebellious, unwed mother of twins must enlist her older sister’s help.
After Emma coerces Myra into accompanying her to a casting call, hearts break and emotions flare when Myra, not Emma, lands a job. Abundant reptiles, pouring rain, swarms of mosquitoes and budding romance abound as Myra, hired to “grease wheels” during the unit’s month-long romp in the swamp, artfully referees frequent collisions between Vireo’s California visitors and shocking redneck reality.
Thrilled by Myra’s skillful maneuvering, production manager, Sol Wein, finds himself falling in love; but Myra is not an attractive girl—or so thinks everyone except the famous makeup artist, Constance DeVane. Though Myra is equally attracted to Sol, his hesitation to be seen in public with her convinces Myra to keep her distance.
Romance pursues Emma too. Visiting actor, Rick Tuttle, instantly falls in love but must compete with rakish cameraman Glenn Dooley and local Commissioner Carmine Morelli for Emma’s fickle affection. Despite their best efforts, Emma’s heart may still belong to old flame, Bradley Fozo, the bad boy who stole her love years earlier then abandoned her and their kids.
After Myra jilts Morelli, the Commissioner seeks revenge by moving to condemn Emma’s family’s property. With no place to stay after Morelli succeeds (and Hollywood’s looming withdrawal), both the Rosenquest clan and Vireo’s visitors wait anxiously as the sisters are forced to make hard choices that will change their lives forever.
Sunny Side Up! is a lighthearted, retro-romance based on Warner Brothers Pictures’ actual visit to Naples, Florida in 1951 to shoot scenes for the feature-length film, Distant Drums, starring cinema legend, Gary Cooper. Reconstructed from archival news accounts of Warner Brother’s improbable, month-long stay in postwar Southwest Florida, Sunny Side Up! vividly recalls the postwar days of three-cent postage stamps and bobby socks, when Hollywood was king.
Janet Aslin on Amazon.com wrote:
"I didn't want it to end."
Lately I have been reading a lot of murder mysteries and thrillers. Maybe it is my escape. So imagine my surprise at reading and loving a laugh inducing slice of life story, chock full of memorable characters whose voices I can hear. The story sounds unlikely to be true but much of this actually happened. Sort of.
You get a great story, laugh out loud lines from characters you may, like me, recognize, and unusual but real family dynamics.
I read the book because Cliff Keller wrote it. But I am writing this because it is good and I really enjoyed it. I actually slowed down reading it because I didn't want it to end. I anxiously await his next book.
I’m a fan of Cliff Keller’s, having read (and re-read) his previous three novels about biblical prophets. Sunny Side Up is quite a departure from the subject matter of his other books. I quickly found myself caught up in the story line, watching the development of each of the characters. Having grown up in Alaska, Florida for me is Disneyworld and Cape Canaveral. Sunny Side Up introduced me to a different side of Florida. Totally enjoyed it! And yes, I found myself reading it a second time for the pure pleasure of the experience.
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