Publication Date: February 12, 2019
My Copy Came From: NetGalley
Read Via: Kindle
My Like Level: 5 out of 5
Genre: Biographical, Historical Fiction, Parenting, Classic Hollywood
Book Synopsis from Amazon:
This richly imagined novel 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.
“A breathtaking read that will transport you over the rainbow and into the heart of one of America’s most enduring fairy tales.”—Lisa Wingate, author of Before We Were Yours
Hollywood, 1938: As soon as she learns that M-G-M is adapting her late husband’s masterpiece for the screen, seventy-seven-year-old Maud Gage Baum sets about trying to finagle her way onto the set. Nineteen years after Frank’s passing, Maud is the only person who can help the producers stay true to the spirit of the book—because she’s the only one left who knows its secrets.
But the moment she hears Judy Garland rehearsing the first notes of “Over the Rainbow,” Maud recognizes the yearning that defined her own life story, from her youth as a suffragette’s daughter to her coming of age as one of the first women in the Ivy League, from her blossoming romance with Frank to the hardscrabble prairie years that inspired The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Judy reminds Maud of a young girl she cared for and tried to help in South Dakota, a dreamer who never got her happy ending. Now, with the young actress under pressure from the studio as well as her ambitious stage mother, Maud resolves to protect her—the way she tried so hard to protect the real Dorothy.
The author of two New York Times bestselling nonfiction books, The Eighty-Dollar Champion and The Perfect Horse, Elizabeth Letts is a master at discovering and researching a rich historical story and transforming it into a page-turner. Finding Dorothy is the result of Letts’s journey into the amazing lives of Frank and Maud Baum. Written as fiction but based closely on the truth, Elizabeth Letts’s new book tells a story of love, loss, inspiration, and perseverance, set in America’s heartland.
Advance praise for Finding Dorothy
“Old Hollywood is its own kind of Oz in Finding Dorothy, complete with false dazzle and complex combinations of threat and allure. But what really satisfies here is the unlikely friendship between L. Frank Baum’s unsinkable widow, Maud, and the young Judy Garland, on the vulnerable cusp of fame. It’s an alliance that seems touched with magic and serendipity and something even more transformative, true understanding between women.”—Paula McLain, author of Love and Ruin
This book was an absolute joy to read! It is a magical journey into the heart of America’s most beloved movie, The Wizard of Oz.
If you have ever seen The Wizard of Oz, read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, or even just heard the song Somewhere Over The Rainbow, then you will love this magical look deeper into its origins, and creator, L. Frank Baum. From a young age, I remember watching The Wizard of Oz every year around Christmas when it played on Network TV. This was long before cable, On Demand, DVR’s, streaming services and DVD’s. We could go rent the movie on VHS at our local movie rental shop, but The Wizard of Oz was always bypassed by the newest cartoon release like The Little Mermaid, or The Lion King. Plus, I always cherished the time I watched it once a year with my family. It almost made it more magical that way!
Finding Dorothy is a look into the life L. Frank Baum, the creator of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz books, and his wonderful, intelligent, wife Maude. It is rich with details! Finding Dorothy travels back and forth between Maude’s youth growing up with her women’s-right’s pioneer mother Mathilda, and then to 1939 when the movie adaptation of The Wizard of Oz was taking place in Hollywood. We meet the not yet famous Judy Garland, and understand the hurdles Maude has to get over in order to help maintain the authenticity of her husband’s life work as it is translated to the big screen.
I HIGHLY recommend this book to everyone. It will tick all of your reading “must have boxes.” Love, romance, historical-fiction, nostalgia, Old Hollywood glamour, women’s suffrage (aka the right to vote), musicals, etc. It is such a fun ride!
Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for giving me an advanced readers copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
See this and other book reviews at www.BookItForward.blog
Follow me on Instagram and Twitter! @BookItBlog
This blog post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through a link, I receive a small commission. This doesn’t cost you anything and it helps keep my content FREE for you. Woo hoo!