***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review***
SYNOPSIS: After moving to Hollywood with her new husband, Harlean McGrew on a dare signs up at a casting agency under the name Jean Harlow. This starts a series of events that cause Harlean to realize what she truly wants out of life and the sacrifices she will have to make to become one of Hollywood’s brightest stars.
I didn’t know a whole lot about Jean Harlow prior to reading this book, but after all I can think to say is “Poor Jean!” Firstly in this novel her mother is the worst of the worst stage moms (and I truly hope that this was an exaggeration because yikes) and secondly her mother and her first husband don’t get along and her husband drank to avoid his feelings from when his parents died tragically. I felt so bad for him, but at the same time it didn’t excuse the fact that he sometimes said horrible things to her. I was really rooting for them, but each fight had me feeling just as bad as Harlean did. There were numerous times when both of these people that she loved so much just bulldozed all over her and her feelings. Not once did any of them ask her what she wanted to do and when she did what she wanted that only made them angry with her and I truly felt the pain that Harlean was surely feeling. I still can’t get over the things that her mother made her do! I had to skip a chapter because what was going on made me absolutely sick to my stomach! I just wish that Harlean McGrew had been allowed to make her own decisions on whether or not she truly wanted to be Jean Harlow. Girard did a fantastic job of making her so human to me in the description of her feelings of anxiety and indecision. It was also interesting to see her trying to give herself agency only to have it taken away by other people making decisions for her. I really hope that Aunt Jetty was a real mentor to Harlean because she doled out some really good advice in regards to her mother and her first husband and was a much needed stable and loving mother figure in the book. On a much nicer note, I loved the descriptions of what life was like on set and the appearances of many well known actors and actresses from Hollywood’s Golden Age. I thought her relationship with Oliver Hardy was so sweet and he was a good friend to her when she needed it the most. I also liked how not every actor acted like a sweetheart, there were moments of divaness. The moments on set were probably the only genuinely happy moments of the book besides the beginning when Harlean was deliriously happy with her husband. They were my absolute favorite parts because behind the scene stories always interest me. I loved how each experience helped Harlean grow and it really shined through in thew writing. I think this book does a great job in getting you interested in a star that left the world too soon which I believe is what makes a good historical fiction novel.
Thanks Harlequin Books for allowing me to read this book! Buy your copy here!