Possible Pick: The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard

In Erin McGrath’s The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard, readers meet the beguiling Nell Platt.  Nell grows up poor in rural Kansas.   To escape her bleak life, she marries at 17,  but finds she’s traded one sad situation for another. A talented seamstress, she decides to leave her husband and two baby daughters behind to run away to Hollywood.

Once there, she invents a whole new persona, and quickly establishes herself as a master seamstress for the film industry and later, to the grand dames of California society.  Things are going just fine for this mover and shaker until twenty years later, her grown daughters show up on her doorstep, demanding answers.

McGraw seamlessly moves from rural Kansas circa 1900 to the glittering streets of California in the 1920s, and has filled her novel with historical details readers will savor. To add some interest to the discussion, it turns out that the novel is based on McGraw’s grandmother’s real life.

Groups interested in historical novels, women’s fiction, and character-driven stories will love this one.

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About the Author:

Rebecca Vnuk is the editor for Collection Management and Library Outreach at Booklist. She is also the author of 3 reader’s-advisory nonfiction books: Read On…Women’s Fiction (2009), Women’s Fiction: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests (2014), and Women’s Fiction Authors: A Research Guide (2009). Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_RVnuk.

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