Happy publication day to Elizabeth Letts, Finding Dorothy is out in hardback today!
Behind the most famous movie ever made is a tale of love, magic and one incredible woman
Hollywood, 1938: As soon as she learns that M-G-M is adapting her late husband’s masterpiece, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, for the screen, Maud Gage Baum sets about trying to visit 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 rebellious 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 his famous work. 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.
This richly imagined novel tells the story behind The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the book that inspired the iconic film, through the eyes of author L. Frank Baum’s intrepid wife, Maud.
Historical fiction fans, this is one novel not to be missed! It’s always a great feeling when you fall in love with a novel much more than you anticipated. That was the case here, Maud is such a memorable, lovable character, who really brought this novel to life.
If you’re a fan of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, you need to read this novel, but equally, if you’re not a fan, you still need to read this novel. It isn’t too heavy on all things Oz, it is in no way a retelling, it is a behind the scenes telling – lets break that down a bit more. In the ‘present day’ 1938 timeline, you get a look at behind the scenes, as Maud tries her best to ensure the movie stays true to the book. And because Maud is a character you grow to love, you feel her determination right along with her, and her frustration when it seems people aren’t listening.
In the second timeline, and my favourite of the two, you get another behind the scenes look, this time it’s a look at the life of Maud, growing up and becoming a young woman. You get to explore her family life, her relationships with her mother and sister, her meeting Frank and their life together, and this was simply wonderful to read. I’m so pleased this was the dominant timeline in the novel because it made for such captivating reading. And if you love a strong female lead, look no further than Maud! And her mother, because she’s a real tour de force too!
Journeying with Maud through the ups and downs of her life, the challenges she faces and the strength of her love for her family just warmed my heart. Within this storyline there’s a focus, subplot if you like, on Maud’s sister, Julia, and I thought this was so interesting, it showed a great contrast of the lives two sister who were raised by the same mother can end up living.
This novel is titled Finding Dorothy, and when you read it, you’ll understand exactly why. But what’s important to know when deciding whether to read it is: that it’s so wonderfully written, it beautifully depicts the challenges women faced at the time (the work of the suffragettes), the exploration of family ties, and following your heart, and most importantly, it speaks to your need to believe, to believe that dreams do come true.
*My thanks to the publisher (Quercus Books) for providing me with a copy of this title*
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