When a runway model in 1940s Hollywood makes a split-second decision designed to protect those she loves, she triggers a web of lies that threaten to upend her daughter’s life decades later.
After winning a prestigious fashion design contest in 1948, Aster Kelly flees the world of modeling in New York and arrives in Beverly Hills to claim her prize: a design apprenticeship with Fernando Tivoli. But Fernando has no such job available. He’s busily preparing for the opportunity of his lifetime—proving to Galaxy Studios that he is the perfect couturier for their A-list stars. The moment he meets Aster, though, he knows she’s the missing ingredient he needs and asks her to be his stand-in model for Lauren Bacall. Aster is dismayed to once again have her creative potential sidelined, but when Fernando promises to mentor her if he wins the business, she agrees.
Aster and Fernando quickly become entangled with Hollywood insiders—Aster with the head of Galaxy Studios, Fernando with their biggest up-and-coming star, Christopher Page—and their friendship becomes essential as they navigate a glamorous and complicated existence where what’s real must often be hidden, and nothing is quite what it seems. As Aster’s ambitions grow and she faces a crisis, and Fernando’s future becomes threatened by the Hollywood machine, Aster makes a decision that changes the trajectory of their lives forever.
Twenty five years later, despite knowing little of her mother’s time in Hollywood and being raised well outside the reaches of fame, Aster’s daughter Lissy is poised to become a Broadway star. But when the musical gets off to a rocky start, Lissy makes a rash decision of her own in attempt to save the show. And when long-buried secrets blindside them both, mother and daughter are forced to question everything they thought they knew.
The Hidden Life of Aster Kelly is a story about the bonds of chosen family, the cost of fame and the enduring strength of love. It will keep you guessing until the last page.