It’s 1931 in Hollywood, and Minerva Sinclaire is on the run for a murder she didn’t commit.
As the Great Depression hits the Midwest, Minerva Sinclaire runs away to Hollywood, determined to make it big and save the family farm. But beauty and moxie don’t pay the bills in Tinseltown, and she’s caught in a downward spiral of poverty, desperation, and compromise. Finally, she’s about to sign with a major studio and make up for it all. Instead, she wakes up next to a dead film star and is on the run for a murder she didn’t commit.
Only two unwilling men―Oscar, a Mexican gardener in danger of deportation, and Max, a too-handsome agent battling his own demons―can help Mina escape corrupt police on the take and the studio big shots trying to frame her. But even her quick thinking and grit can’t protect her from herself. Alone, penniless, and carrying a shameful secret, Mina faces the consequences of the heartbreaking choices that brought her to ruin . . . and just might bring her back to where she belongs.
I enjoyed reading In a Far-Off Land, set in 1930’s Hollywood during the Great Depression. Minnie is a naive young woman from a small town in South Dakota. Her mother has passed away, and Minnie loses her moral compass as her father and sister struggle to keep the family farm afloat. Minnie runs away to Hollywood, believing a movie contract will fix their financial problems. Instead, Minnie discovers the grass isn’t greener in a far-off land where dreams are often dashed by hardship and the desperate struggle to survive.
Minnie reinvents herself as Minerva Sinclaire, and catches a break when she’s picked up as a client by Max, a big shot Hollywood agent. Max has own secrets, and he wants to protect Mina from people who will use and abuse her. The story opens with Max reluctantly accompanying Mina to a glamorous Hollywood party. Mina makes choices at the party that land her in hot water and on the run as a murder suspect.
The subplot in the story revolves around Oscar, who has a past connection to Max. Oscar’s family is Mexican, and he was working at the Hollywood house on the night of the party.
The story is a clean read, but it’s also realistic and explores the dirty underbelly behind the glitz and glamor of the movie industry. Mina is the prodigal who has turned her back on God and faith. As a result, there are situations in the story that more conservative readers many find too edgy.
I loved the murder mystery and how it plays out in the story. The story also has romantic elements that raise the stakes and create problems and complications for the characters to overcome and achieve a satisfying conclusion. I recommend In a Far-Off Land to historical fiction readers who like gritty novels set in 1930’s Hollywood with a murder mystery, romantic elements, and a prodigal faith journey with forgiveness themes.