I fall back into my usual reading patterns with the newest book from Karen Harper – The It Girls. This novel of two real life sisters who lived extraordinary lives intrigued. TLC Book Tours sent me a copy at no charge for my honest review.
About The It Girls:
• Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 24, 2017)
From New York Times bestselling author Karen Harper comes a novel based on the lives of two amazing sisters . . .
One sailed the Titanic and started a fashion empire . . .
The other overtook Hollywood and scandalized the world . . .
Together, they were unstoppable.
They rose from genteel poverty, two beautiful sisters, ambitious, witty, seductive. Elinor and Lucy Sutherland are at once each other’s fiercest supporters and most vicious critics.
Lucy transformed herself into Lucile, the daring fashion designer who revolutionized the industry with her flirtatious gowns and brazen self-promotion. And when she married Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon her life seemed to be a fairy tale. But success came at many costs—to her marriage and to her children . . . and then came the fateful night of April 14, 1912 and the scandal that followed.
Elinor’s novels titillate readers, and it’s even asked in polite drawing rooms if you would like to “sin with Elinor Glyn?” Her work pushes the boundaries of what’s acceptable; her foray into the glittering new world of Hollywood turns her into a world-wide phenomenon. But although she writes of passion, the true love she longs for eludes her.
But despite quarrels and misunderstandings, distance and destiny, there is no bond stronger than that of the two sisters—confidants, friends, rivals and the two “It Girls” of their day.
About the Author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author KAREN HARPER is a former Ohio State University instructor and high school English teacher. Published since 1982, she writes contemporary suspense and historical novels about real British women. Two of her recent Tudor-era books were bestsellers in the UK and Russia. Harper won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for Dark Angel, and her novel Shattered Secrets was judged one of the best books of the year by Suspense Magazine.
I did not know when I started The It Girls that it was based in reality. Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon and Elinor Glyn were both women far ahead of their time. Their lives were remarkably similar and yet wildly different. The Sutherland sisters grew up with a mother who loved them and a step father who was less than present in their lives. Each had a passion for a different artistic pursuit; Lucy for designing dresses and Elinor for writing romance stories. Each seemed to seek romance in their vocation for it was often lacking in their lives.
These two women accomplished much in their day – especially considering the Edwardian strictures on women for just being something other than a proper wife and mother, let along trying to make a living. As they pursue their passions they enter into disastrous marriages and their sisterly relationship strains as each one rises and falls in success.
I have to admit that this was not an easy book to read. I wonder if the sisters’ stories were presented separately if it would have made for a better book or books. I respect the relationship and that they are very close in age but by going back and forth with the two of them in their careers and various marriages and affairs it was a touch confusing. Neither sister was particularly likable which also made it difficult to really care about how it all played out.
Both were trail blazers for their time – particularly Lucy. She did a lot to revolutionize the fashion industry in her day but the novel seems to read like a somewhat dry diary rather than a fascinating look at a forward thinking woman. This made me sad.
Other Books by Karen Harper:
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