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From Dust to Stardust by Kathleen Rooney


From Dust to Stardust (2023) by Kathleen Rooney is an extraordinary historical fiction novel set in the early 20th century and inspired by the life and films of Colleen Moore. Kathleen Rooney showcases the interesting story of Eileen Sullivan, a young Irish girl with an undying desire to act and her Irish grandmother who believes Eileen can be a star. Rooney switches between Eileen’s memories; her childhood love of fairies instilled by her grandmother and her move at age 14 to Hollywood to become famous as Doreen O’Dare and her 1968 interview at the Museum of Science + Industry describing the creation of her 1-ton dollhouse turned Fairy Castle. The book is also studded with historical facts such as the 1920s women’s vote, the first ‘bob’ haircuts, and the Depression. The addition of flappers and prohibition, famous places like The Brown Derby and Hollywood stars Clara Bow and Douglas Fairbanks add to the fun of reading this book. While there are serious themes of poverty, spousal abuse, and alcoholism, this novel is a sparkling, funny, and fabulously interesting take on the Golden Age of film.

The real Colleen Moore created the Fairy Castle that has been displayed at the MSI since 1949. Learn more about it here.

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