Sunday, April 14, 2019

Book Review: Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts


Book Review

Finding Dorothy


Elizabeth Letts


Book Description:


Hollywood, 1938: As soon as she learns that M-G-M is adapting her late husband’s masterpiece for the screen, seventy-seven-year-old Maud Gage Baum sets about trying to finagle her way onto the set. Nineteen years after Frank’s passing, Maud is the only person who can help the producers stay true to the spirit of the book—because she’s the only one left who knows its secrets.

But the moment she hears Judy Garland rehearsing the first notes of “Over the Rainbow,” Maud recognizes the yearning that defined her own life story, from her youth as a suffragette’s daughter to her coming of age as one of the first women in the Ivy League, from her blossoming romance with Frank to the hardscrabble prairie years that inspired The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Judy reminds Maud of a young girl she cared for and tried to help in South Dakota, a dreamer who never got her happy ending. Now, with the young actress under pressure from the studio as well as her ambitious stage mother, Maud resolves to protect her—the way she tried so hard to protect the real Dorothy.

The author of two New York Times bestselling nonfiction books, The Eighty-Dollar Champion and The Perfect Horse, Elizabeth Letts is a master at discovering and researching a rich historical story and transforming it into a page-turner. Finding Dorothy is the result of Letts’s journey into the amazing lives of Frank and Maud Baum. Written as fiction but based closely on the truth, Elizabeth Letts’s new book tells a story of love, loss, inspiration, and perseverance, set in America’s heartland.



My 5-Star Review:

We all know the story of Dorothy following the yellow brick road to find home. We’ve all seen the movie since childhood, and watched as she fights the wicked witch to earn the right to finally go home. (If you haven’t seen the movie – where have you been??). But do you know the story behind the story? Do you know what prompted L. Frank Baum to write about Dorothy and Toto and all her fairytale friends? That is where the historical fiction novel, Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts steps in.

As L. Frank Baum’s widow arrives at MGM to oversee the making of the 1939 classic “The Wizard of Oz”, we begin to see how important it is to her to make sure the story is done correctly. And she also brings with her the backstory of the writing of this children’s classic. Elizabeth Letts weaves a wonderful story within a story of the life of L. Frank Baum and his wife, Maud, and all their struggles through the early years until his success as a writer. On the movie set, Maud feels protective of the young actress, Judy Garland, who plays Dorothy and watches over her. She also feels protective of the character too, wanting the studio to portray Dorothy exactly as she is in the books. In-between her visits to the set, we see flashbacks of Maud’s youth through her marriage to Baum and beyond.

I can’t tell you how much I loved this story. It gave depth to character who I’d loved as a child and an adult and gave even more meaning to the story. The author states that she put as much truth in the story as she could find, and you can see the work she’s put into it. It’s an amazing historical fiction novel that I am sure you will enjoy.


About the Author:

If you want to know why I'm a writer, you'd have to thank Mrs. Barclay, the children's librarian in the Malaga Cove Library in Palos Verdes, California, and my mother. who has read more books than anyone else I know, and who carted me to the library from the time I could barely walk. From the day I sounded out my first board book (Ann Likes Red), read my first poem (Block City, by Robert Louis Stevenson) and was swept up in my first long chapter book, (Little House in the Big Woods) I've been a passionate reader and fascinated by the lives and personalities of my favorite authors. But I was a late bloomer. I spent my twenties and thirties working as a nurse-midwife and raising four children. When I turned forty, I decided that I didn't want to be one of those people who thought she had a book in her but never gave it a try, and I sat down to write my first novel. Now, writing is my full-time pursuit. My passions are horses and all animals, my children, singing in a choir, and long road trips through the backroads of America. I care deeply about issues that affect women and children, and especially those who are fleeing danger. But my favorite hobby is still the one that Mrs. Barclay and my mom got me started on-- reading.

Website: www.elizabethletts.com 
Twitter: @elizabethletts 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/eightydollarchampion
Instagram: elizabethletts

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews