Today I have a review of Finding Dorothy written by Elizabeth Letts and now available via Random House/Ballantine!
Finding Dorothy is the story behind one of the most beloved books (and movies) of all time, The Wizard of Oz. The story is told through the voice of L. Frank Baum’s wife, Maud.
Finding Dorothy covers the time that Maud and Frank live in South Dakota, barely making ends meet. It was during this time that the couple meets a real life Dorothy who inspired Frank to write the novel. The book also covers Maud’s early years as the daughter of a suffragette.
When Maud later is introduced to Judy Garland, who would play the beloved Dorothy character in the movie, she describes how Garland’s rendition of “Over the Rainbow” takes her back to those tough days before the book’s big boom.
Maud and Judy Garland connect despite their over sixty year age difference. Maud is a widow at the time of the making of the movie.
Alternating between the past storyline of Maud’s life and Maud and Frank’s marriage, there is also the storyline in 1939 on the active film set of the movie. During these days, Judy is mistreated by those making the movie, as well as by her “stage” mother, and Maud does her best to protect her.
Finding Dorothy feels well-researched and authentic. Fans of the book or movie will gobble this one up. The author is as passionate about the story as many of us are, and it shines through in her writing, especially in the afterword. If you are a Wizard of Oz fan, I think this one should definitely be on your TBR!
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
A richly imagined novel that 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–from the family’s hardscrabble days in South Dakota to the Hollywood film set where she first meets Judy Garland.
Maud Gage Baum, widow of the author of the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, met Judy Garland, the young actress playing the role of Dorothy on the set of The Wizard of Oz in 1939. At the time, Maud was seventy-eight and Judy was sixteen. In spite of their age difference, Maud immediately connected to Judy–especially when Maud heard her sing “Over the Rainbow,” a song whose yearning brought to mind the tough years in South Dakota when Maud and her husband struggled to make a living–until Frank Baum’s book became a national sensation.
This wonderfully evocative two-stranded story recreates Maud’s youth as the rebellious daughter of a leading suffragette, and the prairie years of Maud and Frank’s early days when they lived among the people–especially young Dorothy–who would inspire Frank’s masterpiece. Woven into this past story is one set in 1939, describing the high-pressured days on The Wizard of Oz film set where Judy is being badgered by the director, producer, and her ambitious stage mother to lose weight, bind her breasts, and laugh, cry, and act terrified on command. As Maud had promised to protect the original Dorothy back in Aberdeen, she now takes on the job of protecting young Judy.
Have you read Finding Dorothy, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR