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The Forgotten Flapper: A Novel of Olive Thomas
     

The Forgotten Flapper: A Novel of Olive Thomas

5.0 1
by Laini Giles
 

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A presence lurks in New York City’s New Amsterdam Theatre when the lights go down and the audience goes home. They say she’s the ghost of OLIVE THOMAS, one of the loveliest girls who ever lit up the Ziegfeld Follies and the silent screen. From her longtime home at the theater, Ollie’s ghost tells her story from her early life in Pittsburgh to her

Overview

A presence lurks in New York City’s New Amsterdam Theatre when the lights go down and the audience goes home. They say she’s the ghost of OLIVE THOMAS, one of the loveliest girls who ever lit up the Ziegfeld Follies and the silent screen. From her longtime home at the theater, Ollie’s ghost tells her story from her early life in Pittsburgh to her tragic death at twenty-five. After winning a contest for “The Most Beautiful Girl in New York,” shopgirl Ollie modeled for the most famous artists in New York, and then went on to become the toast of Broadway. When Hollywood beckoned, Ollie signed first with Triangle Pictures, and then with Myron Selznick’s new production company, becoming most well known for her work as a “baby vamp,” the precursor to the flappers of the 1920s. After a stormy courtship, she married playboy Jack Pickforrd, Mary Pickford’s wastrel brother. Together they developed a reputation for drinking, club-going, wrecking cars, and fighting, along with giving each other expensive make-up gifts. Ollie's mysterious death in Paris’ Ritz Hotel in 1920 was one of Hollywood’s first scandals, ensuring that her legend lived on.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2015-10-13
In Giles' (Love Lies Bleeding, 2015) novel, the ghost of actress Olive Thomas recounts her previous life as a model, chorus girl, and silent-film star. The spirit of the actress haunts Manhattan's New Amsterdam Theatre, once the home of the Ziegfeld Follies, in which Olive performed. The apparition recollects her modest beginnings in a Pennsylvania coal mining town, getting married too young, and working as a shopgirl in New York where she's "discovered" and becomes a model for artists such as Howard Chandler Christy and Harrison Fisher. After using her connections to become a Ziegfeld Girl, she performs in both the Follies and the more risqué rooftop Frolic; she also begins an affair with her married boss, Florenz Ziegfeld. After he refuses to leave his family for her, Olive takes a heartbroken trip to California, where she meets Jack Pickford, the notorious playboy and brother of Mary Pickford, and they have an exciting yet volatile marriage. Her beauty and enthusiasm open many doors into the world of silent film; however, she struggles with Jack's alcoholism and indiscriminate infidelities. These dalliances inadvertently bring about her early end; she accidentally drinks a mercury solution, her husband's syphilis treatment. Though a tragic figure, Olive unapologetically indulges in the excess of the early 20th century by being sassy, savvy but never cynical, and sexually vibrant. Giles employs an easy style and modest creative license backed by obsessive research. The book's only noteworthy shortcoming is its failure to explore one of Olive's more noteworthy claims to fame: her early death was one of the first heavily publicized scandals, and as a ghost, the starlet would have been uniquely positioned to comment on it. That said, nearly every page features at least a passing reference, if not an appearance, by a Hollywood legend, from the Pickfords to the Selznicks to F. Scott Fitzgerald. These are joined by lesser-remembered figures such as actors Blanche Ring and George Chesebro and the cross-dressing performer Julian Eltinge. The author includes an impressive reading list to explore these personalities further. A film buff"s dream wrapped in the decadence and glamour of a bygone era.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780994734907
Publisher:
Sepia Stories Publishing
Publication date:
07/18/2015
Pages:
422
Sales rank:
272,787
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

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Meet the Author

A native of Austin, Texas, Laini Giles grew up the daughter of bookworms, and became a Nancy Drew devotee early on. When she realized there might be no escape from hairy tarantulas and bad guys with guns, she put her detective dreams on hold and wrote about them instead, finishing her first mystery novel with custom illustrations when she was eight. It was this love of mystery combined with a love of old MGM musicals and The Marx Brothers that led her to check Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon out of the library during her formative years. Ideas began to simmer.

A graduate of the University of North Texas, she put the writing on hold for a while when real life got in the way (i.e.-she met and married her Canadian husband and headed north for maple-flavored goodies and real beer). She highly recommends moving to another country and not being able to work for a year for finishing any novels you may have laying around.
Laini and her husband live in Edmonton, Alberta with their three gray girl cats, nicknamed The Supremes.

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The Forgotten Flapper: A Novel of Olive Thomas 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Lauren Semar More than 1 year ago
I knew all about Olive Thomas before reading this book and absolutely LOVE this novel! The concept was so cute, even though Olive's tale isn't at times, but that's what makes it a page turner! I would never forget Olive nor should anyone after reading this book. I can't wait for more stories from Laini Giles.