Title: The It Girls by Karen Harper
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Historical, Fiction
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: C
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
From New York Times bestselling author Karen Harper comes a novel based on the lives of two amazing sisters . . .
One sailed the Titanic and started a fashion empire . . .
The other overtook Hollywood and scandalized the world . . .
Together, they were unstoppable.
They rose from genteel poverty, two beautiful sisters, ambitious, witty, seductive. Elinor and Lucy Sutherland are at once each other’s fiercest supporters and most vicious critics.
Lucy transformed herself into Lucile, the daring fashion designer who revolutionized the industry with her flirtatious gowns and brazen self-promotion. And when she married Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon her life seemed to be a fairy tale. But success came at many costs—to her marriage and to her children . . . and then came the fateful night of April 14, 1912 and the scandal that followed.
Elinor’s novels titillate readers, and it’s even asked in polite drawing rooms if you would like to “sin with Elinor Glyn?” Her work pushes the boundaries of what’s acceptable; her foray into the glittering new world of Hollywood turns her into a world-wide phenomenon. But although she writes of passion, the true love she longs for eludes her.
But despite quarrels and misunderstandings, distance and destiny, there is no bond stronger than that of the two sisters—confidants, friends, rivals and the two “It Girls” of their day.
Beginning in 1875 and spanning several decades, The It Girls by Karen Harper is a fictionalized novel about real life sisters, Lucy (Lucile) & Elinor (Nellie) Sutherland.
Rising from humble beginnings, Lucy and Elinor’s professional lives took divergent paths, but their personal lives bear startling similarities. Both women are rather impetuous and neither of them make the best decisions regarding the men in their lives. Each of their marriages are somewhat disastrous and they both embark on somewhat scandalous love affairs. Lucy’s love of fashion results in a lucrative career as a designer while Elinor goes on to enjoy success as an author even though her books are rather risqué. Lucy survives the sinking of the Titantic and later goes on to face a few legal challenges regarding her fashion designs. In addition to her novels, Elinor pens a few screenplays and mingles with some the famous actors of the silent film era.
Despite the sisters’ fascinating accomplishments, The It Girls is rather slow moving and a little choppy since the novel covers several decades of their lives. The characterization of the women is a little superficial and despite their very different interests, they lack individuality on paper. While the story is not without flaws, Karen Harper effectively brings attention to two successful women who were very much ahead their time.