The It Girl and Me: A Novel of Clara Bow by Laini Giles
Publication Date: March 25, 2017
Sepia Stories Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 341 Pages
Series: Forgotten Actresses, Book #2
Gere: Historical Fiction/Biographical
Daisy DeVoe has left her abusive husband, her father has been pinched for bootlegging, and she’s embarrassed by her rural Kentucky roots. But on the plus side, she’s climbing the ladder in the salon of Paramount Pictures, styling hair for actress Clara Bow.
Clara is a handful. The “It” Girl of the Jazz Age personifies the new woman of the 1920s onscreen, smoking, drinking bootleg hooch, and bursting with sex appeal. But her conduct off the set is even more scandalous. Hoping to impose a little order on Clara’s chaotic life, Paramount persuades Daisy to sign on as Clara’s personal secretary.
Thanks to Daisy, Clara's bank account is soon flush with cash. And thanks to Clara, Daisy can finally shake off her embarrassing past and achieve respectability for herself and her family.
The trouble begins when Clara’s newest fiancé, cowboy star Rex Bell, wants to take over, and he and Daisy battle for control. Torn between her loyalty to Clara and her love for her family, Daisy has to make a difficult choice when she ends up in the county jail.
Here, Daisy sets the record straight, from her poverty-stricken childhood to her failed marriage; from a father in San Quentin to her rollercoaster time with Clara, leaving out none of the juicy details.
When I got back to Clara’s place, her modiste, Lillian, had arrived and was showing her the new spring designs.
“Clara, this frock is simply divine. A must-have for the season. Look at the way it hangs, with this lovely, artful drape and the pointed seamings here and here.”
Clara cocked her head at her reflection in the three-way mirror. The spangled black silk with flat crepe accents, jet paillettes, and tulle trimmings was stunning.
“Okay. I’ll take it,” she said, smacking her gum.
Fame was nothing I’d really considered before now, but since the fans made it hard for Clara to shop among regular folk out at department stores, Adela had referred her to Lillian Morris.
Lillian called herself a modiste, but she was more like a courier. She visited exclusive boutiques in Europe, bought multiple colors and sizes of the styles, and made the rounds of the stars’ homes. Convenient for them and easy money for her. She could mark the designs up as much as she wanted and pocket the difference.
Lillian was a walking advertisement for her service. She favored variations of green, which brought out her hazel-gold cat’s eyes. Her lustrous dark hair was always tucked under one of the newest hats of the season, and she always accessorized with the perfect bauble for any outfit.
Clara didn’t know a thing about fashion, but she knew she was expected to dress a certain way for certain events, and Lillian gave her wise advice. She couldn’t completely stop Clara from wearing shorts and high heels together, but she did her best.
Clara stepped out of the black number and reached for the next item. The dress fluttered into a pool of silk at her feet.
“This,” Lillian began, “is a sports ensemble from Jane Regny. Smart white piqué with mint jacquard trim. And an optional jacket as well.”
Clara slipped it on and frowned. “Nah. This ain’t me at all. Makes my tits look invisible!” She took it off and tossed it to the floor, stepping over it getting to the next item.
Lillian deftly slipped it back onto the hanger before it could wrinkle and laid it on the pile of items Clara had discarded. Then she collected the black frock as well.
“What’s this?” Clara said, grabbing another dress.
“Amethyst crepe! From Vernon of Paris. As dainty as springtime, don’t you think? One of my favorites.”
Clara pulled it on and waited for Lillian to do up the buttons, then pursed her mouth at the mirror. “Sure, why not?” she said.
Lillian and I glanced at each other, wondering how best to tell her how unflattering the color was. Clara didn’t understand tact, so it was hard for her to recognize it coming from others.
“Clara,” Lillian began gently, “the light purple isn’t quite as flattering with your complexion and red hair. Perhaps you might want to reconsider the green?”
She held up an emerald-green dress Clara had already tried on and discarded in favor of a turquoise playsuit for weekends in Malibu.
“Yeah, okay. Gimme that one instead.” I undid the buttons for her, she shrugged the lilac off, and Lillian picked it up from its place on the floor.
I folded the emerald over my arm and Lillian collected the others as we came to the last of Clara’s selections for the month.
“Daisy, look through those and see if ya want anything,” Clara said.
“What? I can’t do that,” I said, caught by surprise.
“Because she’s billing you, that’s why.”
About the AuthorOriginally from the counterculture mecca of Austin, Texas, Laini discovered a love of reading early on, and when she was eight, decided to be Nancy Drew. This dream was dashed when she realized she was actually a big chicken, and that there were no guarantees of rescue from tarantulas, bad guys with guns, and other fiendish plot twists. She finished her first "mystery novel" (with custom illustrations) when she was nine.
She set the writing aside for a while when life got in the way, but was led back to it through her interest in genealogy and 18 months of enforced unemployment due to moving north for maple-flavored goodies and real beer. Reading old microfilm stirred new life into her interest in writing, and watching early silent films struck the match.
Like most other writers, most of her monthly budget is spent on coffee and books. She lives with her husband and their two gray cats in Edmonton, Alberta.
For more information, please visit Laini Giles' website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.
Blog Tour ScheduleWednesday, November 1
Kick Off at Passages to the Past
Thursday, November 2
Feature at What Is That Book About
Friday, November 3
Feature at So Many Books, So Little Time
Monday, November 6
Review at Bookish
Tuesday, November 7
Feauture at WS Momma Readers Nook
Thursday, November 9
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog
Friday, November 10
Review at A Bookaholic Swede
Monday, November 13
Review at Creating Herstory
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots
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Review at A Chick Who Reads
Friday, November 17
Excerpt at A Literary Vacation
Monday, November 20
Feature at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, November 22
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Thursday, November 23
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books
Friday, November 24
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews
Saturday, November 25
Excerpt at T's Stuff
Tuesday, November 28
Review at View from the Birdhouse
Wednesday, November 29
Review at A Book Drunkard
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The It Girl and Me