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From the critically acclaimed and award-winning author of Beautiful Invention: A Novel of Hedy Lamarr and a dozen more historical novels, the true story of an observant young woman’s quest for achievement and recognition.
“A time capsule of Hollywood's Golden Era . . . a captivating novel of Tinsel Town's perils and pitfalls, trade-offs and triumphs!”—Leslie Carroll, author of American Princess
Pretty Oklahoma teenager Helen Nichols accepts an invitation from her cousin, rising movie actress Ginger Rogers, and her Aunt Lela, to try her luck in motion pictures. Her relatives, convinced that her looks and personality will ensure success, provide her with a new name and help her land a contract with RKO. As Phyllis Fraser, she swiftly discovers that Depression-era Hollywood’s surface glamour and glitter obscure the ceaseless struggle of the hopeful starlet.
Lela Rogers, intensely devoted to her daughter and her niece, outwardly accepting of her stage mother label, is nonetheless determined to establish her reputation as screenwriter, stage director, and studio talent scout. For Phyllis, she’s an inspiring model of grit and persistence in an industry run by men.
While Ginger soars to the heights of stardom in musicals with Fred Astaire, Phyllis is tempted by a career more fulfilling than the one she was thrust into. Should she continue working in films, or devote herself to the profession she’s dreamed about since childhood? Which choice might lead her to the lasting love that seems so elusive?
"Based on a true story....A witty and meticulously researched treat."—Kirkus Reviews
"An engrossing glimpse into a bygone era and the forces affecting a young woman's evolution into her own abilities and adulthood....Just the right blend of action to keep it vigorous and involving to the end."—Midwest Book Review