Skip to main content

Platinum Doll by Anne Girard: A Book Review

Platinum Doll
Author: Anne Girard
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Harlequin
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Pages: 368
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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.

     My Review: I have heard of the legendary movie star, Jean Harlow. However, I have not seen any of the movies she starred in, or known any details about her personal life. Reading Platinum Doll was a pleasure because it showed how fascinating and complex Jean Harlow was. This novel chronicles Jean Harlow’s early years of how she became a star. This story follows Jean through her turbulent marriage to Chuck McGrew, her ambitious and controlling mother, Jean Bello, who wants to thrust her daughter into the spotlight, and her struggle to make it big in Hollywood.

     This novel uses Jean Harlow’s real name Harlean. Harlean had just run away from her home to marry, Charles, a young rich boy. They moved to Los Angeles hoping to start a new life. However, Harlean befriends an aspiring actress. While waiting for her friend on set, she caught  the eye of a few Fox executives who gave her letters of recommendations to Central Casting. Reluctant to go to Central Casting, her friends made a bet that she should go. She went to Central Casting and used her mother’s maiden name for her stage name. Soon she became an extra for a movie. Afterwards, she realized that she loved acting and decided to pursue it as a career.

     Harlean is a sympathetic figure. At first, she is an idealist and a romantic. She is passionately in love with Charles and is content at being a housewife She loves books and aspires to be a novelist. She is reluctant to act because she is content with her life. Yet, when she starts to act, her husband becomes jealous and possessive. He does not want her to act. However, when her mother comes to move in with them, their marriage becomes even more heated. Her mother wants Harlean to be a famous actress. Thus, Charles and her mother clash as they try to assert control over her. Harlean fights to be her own self and to make her own decisions for her happiness. 

     Overall, this novel is about love, family, choices, and sacrifices. It is a quest for a woman to find her happiness and her identity. The message of the book is to follow your dreams and to never give up. I felt the characters to be complex and engaging. Harlean was an inspiring character. She never gave up on her dream, even when defeat seemed to be her fate. I also loved the setting of Hollywood’s Golden Age. We get to meet some stars in her life, most notably Clark Gable. My only complaint is that this novel left me wanting more. I wanted the book to continue as an established star. I hope that the author will write a sequel because I did not want this book to end. I loved Jean Harlow and her world. I recommend this book to anyone interested in Jean Harlow and Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki: A Book Review

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post Author: Allison Pataki Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Ballantine Release Date: February 15, 2022 Pages: 381 Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: Mrs. Post, the President and First Lady are here to see you. . . . So begins another average evening for Marjorie Merriweather Post. Presidents have come and gone, but she has hosted them all. Growing up in the modest farmlands of Battle Creek, Michigan, Marjorie was inspired by a few simple rules: always think for yourself, never take success for granted, and work hard—even when deemed American royalty, even while covered in imperial diamonds. Marjorie had an insatiable drive to live and love and to give more than she got. From crawling through Moscow warehouses to rescue the Tsar’s treasures to outrunning the Nazis in London, from serving the homeless of the Great Depression to entertaining Roosevelts, Kennedys, and Hollywood’s biggest stars, Marjorie Merriweath

The Seven Sisters (The Seven Sisters #1) by Lucinda Riley: A Book Review

The Seven Sisters (The Seven Sisters #1) Author: Lucinda Riley Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance Publisher: Atria Release Date: 2015 Pages: 463 Source: My State Public Library Synopsis: Maia D’Apliese and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, “Atlantis”—a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva—having been told that their beloved father, who adopted them all as babies, has died. Each of them is handed a tantalizing clue to her true heritage—a clue which takes Maia across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Once there, she begins to put together the pieces of her story and its beginnings. Eighty years earlier in Rio’s Belle Epoque of the 1920s, Izabela Bonifacio’s father has aspirations for his daughter to marry into the aristocracy. Meanwhile, architect Heitor da Silva Costa is devising plans for an enormous statue, to be called Christ the Redeemer, and will soon travel to Paris to find the right sculptor to

Blog Tour: Marie Antoinette’s World: Intrigue, Infidelity, And Adultery In Versailles by Will Bashor

Marie Antoinette’s World: Intrigue, Infidelity, And Adultery In Versailles [history/biographical nonfiction] Release date: June 15, 2020 Postponed due to Covid-19: July 30, 2020 at Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Hardcover and ebook, 320 pages Author’s page | Goodreads SYNOPSIS Synopsis: This riveting book explores the little-known intimate life of Marie Antoinette and her milieu in a world filled with intrigue, infidelity, adultery, and sexually transmitted diseases. Will Bashor reveals the intrigue and debauchery of the Bourbon kings from Louis XIII to Louis XV, which were closely intertwined with the expansion of Versailles from a simple hunting lodge to a luxurious and intricately ordered palace. It soon became a retreat for scandalous conspiracies and rendezvous—all hidden from the public eye.       When Marie Antoinette arrived, she was quickly drawn into a true viper’s nest, encouraged by her imprudent entourage. Bashor shows that her often thoughtless, fantas