Platinum Doll by Diane Haeger, writing as Anne Girard, takes a look into the early life of famous actress, Jean Harlow (born Harlean Carpenter) in 1920’s Hollywood. This book is a fiction novel. However, a wealth of research was completed prior to committing the story to the page in order to, as closely as possible, portray events in young Harlow’s life as they happened. Creative license was taken by the author in some minor areas of the narrative, such as the wording of personal conversations to flesh out the story.
I didn’t know much about Jean Harlow before picking up this book, I will admit. Though I love reading biographies, I have not previously read any about celebrities from this time period. I was sucked into the narrative from the very first paragraph and was fascinated by the entire book. My mother-in-law loves anything Old Hollywood, so I’m passing this book on to her because I know she will love it and it will make good reading material to help her pass the time while this cold winter weather rages all around us.
I was particularly drawn into the strained, and often contentious, relationship between Jean’s husband, Chuck, and her mother. Each had their own agenda at play that drove their actions in terms of what they wanted Jean to do with her life. Jean often found herself trying desperately to soothe Chuck’s jealousy of other men and grief over the loss of his own parents while still maintaining a connection to her mother. I think many women will relate to this dynamic of trying to find themselves while trying to take care of all the other people in their lives at the same time.
For anyone interested in learning more about Jean Harlow, a great place to start is at the end of this book (in the Acknowledgement Section) where one can find a list of biographies and other literary works that were consulted during the research phase of development.
And, definitely check out the Reader’s Guide, included in the back of the book, for some thought provoking discussion questions, which is immediately followed by a Q&A with the author regarding her subject choice, research methods and writing process.
Synopsis: Set against the dazzling backdrop of Golden Age Hollywood, novelist Anne Girard tells the enchanting story of Jean Harlow, one of the most iconic stars in the history of film.
It’s the Roaring Twenties and seventeen-year-old Harlean Carpenter McGrew has run off to Beverly Hills. She’s chasing a dream—to escape her small, Midwestern life and see her name in lights.
In California, Harlean has everything a girl could want—a rich husband, glamorous parties, socialite friends—except an outlet for her talent. But everything changes when a dare pushes her to embrace her true ambition—to be an actress on the silver screen. With her timeless beauty and striking shade of platinum-blond hair, Harlean becomes Jean Harlow. And as she’s thrust into the limelight, Jean learns that this new world of opportunity comes with its own set of burdens. Torn between her family and her passion to perform, Jean is forced to confront the difficult truth—that fame comes at a price, if only she’s willing to pay it.
Amid a glittering cast of ingenues and Hollywood titans—Clara Bow, Clark Gable, Laurel and Hardy, Howard Hughes—Platinum Doll introduces us to the star who would shine brighter than them all.
Platinum Doll will be released on 1/26/16 and can be pre-ordered from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, Indie Bound and in the iBooks store.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free to facilitate review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.
© 2016, Beauty Brite. All rights reserved.