The It Girls
by Karen Harper
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 24, 2017)
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 worldwide 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.
Not that I’d like to be a man, but that I’d like to be a woman and not have to act like one.
Color me an ignoramus, as I did not realize I was reading a book about real people when I started in. I was nearly through the book when I had to stop reading and Google them to be sure – I just had to! While they weren’t model citizens by any means, the Sutherland sisters made a profound impact on society of their time which continues to influence ours. I had heard the term “It girl” before, and one of the sisters was responsible for coining it. The other sister was responsible for creating and promoting the use of comfortable women’s underwear and more fluid and feminine women’s clothing – so we should all give thanks and kiss our silks and lace for that alone. Both women were highly ambitious, driven, self-centered to a fault and made some horrifically bad choices, but well, haven’t we all? I know I have and am ever so thankful that mine were not documented by a reporter’s lens.
Ms. Harper has chronicled the sisters in an entertaining, intriguing, and colorful manner from their childhood sneak of hiding under a dressing table to catch a glimpse of Lily Langtry on the island of Jersey, through their unfortunate marriages and convention-shattering careers. I cannot imagine the massive amount of research she had to have combed through to pull all this together. The morals of the time seemed contradictory but, not my culture or my problem, but I found it odd that adultery, bankruptcy, alcoholism, sloth, and abandonment were viewed as less damning to a reputation than divorce, but those were the times. I was provided with a review copy of this fascinating book by HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours.
About Karen Harper
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author KAREN HARPER is a former Ohio State University instructor and high school English teacher. Published since 1982, she writes contemporary suspense and historical novels about real British women. Two of her recent Tudor-era books were bestsellers in the UK and Russia. Harper won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for Dark Angel, and her novel Shattered Secrets was judged one of the best books of the year by Suspense Magazine.