Monday, January 28, 2019

The Girls in the Picture - Historical Fiction Review

Rating: Very Good
Source:  Publicist 

Hollywood, 1914. Frances Marion, a young writer desperate for a break, meets “America’s Sweetheart,” Mary Pickford, already making a name for herself both on and off the screen with her golden curls and lively spirit. Together, these two women will take the movie business by storm.

Mary Pickford becomes known as the “Queen of the Movies”—the first actor to have her name on a movie marquee, and the first to become a truly international celebrity. Mary and her husband, Douglas Fairbanks, were America’s first Royal Couple, living in a home more famous that Buckingham Palace. Mary won the first Academy Award for Best Actress in a Talkie and was the first to put her hand and footprints in Grauman’s theater sidewalk. Her annual salary in 1919 was $625,000—at a time when women’s salaries peaked at $10 a week. Frances Marion is widely considered one of the most important female screenwriters of the 20th century, and was the first writer to win multiple Academy Awards. The close personal friendship between the two stars was closely linked to their professional collaboration and success.

Genre: Fiction - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:
I love classic movies and was really intrigued by this historical fiction set during the very early days of movies.

My Impression:
  It was absolutely fascinating to see the beginnings of the film industry which was both more exciting and more humble than I expected.  Mary Pickford of course is an actress that I'm familiar with though I didn't know all that much about her other than her professional success.  Frances Marion was completely new to me and someone I'm so excited to have been introduced to.  Both are people I'm hoping to learn more about.

Benjamin is an author I've been wanting to read and she completely lived up to my expectations.  In this book she created a world that seemed to come to life as soon as I opened the book.  I could see Mary and Frances and all the characters that inhabited their world - some glamorous, some eccentric, and some deeply troubled - but all very real.  I really enjoyed it and like all good historical fiction it had me anxious to read more about the world this story inhabited.

I did find that at times - especially in the middle - the pacing felt a bit bogged down with detail.  Not that it was over detailed but more that there is such a big story to tell.  However, even with that small issue I thoroughly enjoyed this read.  Benjamin made this world and these characters come to life and left me wanting to know more!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Absolutely!  I'm so glad I finally read one of Melanie Benjamin's books and this will definitely not be my last one.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you enjoy historical fiction than this is a must read.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. First, that cover is just lovely! And these women are so fascinating as is the era in which this is set. Fab review.

  2. Nice review! What a great subject, and how enjoyable to lose yourself in this bygone era.

  3. I just finished her Swansvof Fifth Avenue, and she does historical true fiction really well. This was the next book her hers I noticed- glad to see you enjoyed it too.

  4. Oh this sounds so fascinating. I've heard of Mary Pickford of course and Douglas Fairbanks. What an insightful look into the movie business at that time.

  5. I have this book. I can't wait to read it. Great review!