☆••*´¨`*•.☆•• 4 stars ☆••*´¨`*•.☆••
What it’s about:
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 ingénues 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 by Anne Girard is grand historical fiction. The story is drawn from the life of Harlean Harlow Carpenter, aka Jean Harlow. The plot spans the late 1920’s and early 1930’s in chic, glamorous Hollywood. Platinum Doll covers Harlow’s emergence as a film star.
The writing is crisp and engaging. The author’s ample research is apparent in all the detail she provides about Harlow’s personal and professional life. There are wonderful references to many well-known celebrities—Laurel and Hardy, Maurice Chevalier, Howard Hughes—as well as early movies in which Harlow had bit parts.
Platinum Doll begins when Harlow is just 17 years old and newly married. She and her husband, Chuck, have just moved to Beverly Hills, and both are listless. Chuck is unemployed, drinking too much and finding it hard to develop new friendships with the men in the neighborhood. He is all about keeping up with the Jones and fitting in. Harlow has nothing interesting to occupy her time aside from keeping house. She is well-read, and she would like to write a book, but can’t seem to get started. Once discovered by an agent, Harlow is first unsure of her ambitions but appreciates having somewhere to go during the day and a little spending money from her efforts.
Young and naive, Harlow is the perpetual victim of her domineering, self-serving mom, her jealous, controlling husband, and the studio executives who appreciate her beauty but don’t’ take her seriously as an actress. She is easy to pity, and her inability to stand up for herself did become annoying. I had no idea that Harlow was so well read, was an animal advocate, or that she did eventually write a novel. The constant battle between her husband and her mother undoubtedly forced her in be so compliant in order to keep the peace at home. Overall, Anne Girard gives us a 360-degree view of Jean Harlow the person not just a flat , paper doll view of the ultimate blond pin-up girl.
A wonderful escape for anyone who enjoys historical fiction set in the Golden Age. Platinum Doll will wrap you in fur stoles, evening gowns and satiny gloves like a shining Hollywood starlet at the height of the glitz and glamour of 1920’s Hollywood.