Saturday, 14 September 2019
Finding Dorothy, Elizabeth Letts looks at the true story behind L Frank Baum's magical book.
To do this, she follows the life of of his wife, Maud, daughter of the famous American suffragist, Matilda Joslyn Gage, who was sent to Cornell to get an education, but who gave it up when she fell in love with an itinerant actor called Frank.
Finding Dorothy is a magical novel in that it is set not only in the late nineteenth century, but also in 1939 Hollywood when Maud Baum, now seventy-eight years old, attempts to enter MGM Studios to talk to Louis B Mayer to ensure that the film stays true to Frank's work.
Through Elizabeth Letts' narration, we meet the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion, and we meet Dorothy - Judy Garland, of course - and find out about her difficult life too. This is all the more interesting this year, eighty years after the film was released, and also in the light of the new film, Judy, starring Reneé Zellweger which comes out in the UK on October 2nd.
Finding Dorothy isn't just about the character Judy portrays, it goes much deeper but you will have to read the book to find out how!
I'm off now to watch The Wizard of Oz and marvel at the beautiful voice of Judy Garland singing Over the Rainbow, knowing so much more about the story of Judy and Dorothy, thanks to Finding Dorothy and Elizabeth Letts.
Sunday, 1 September 2019
The Melchiors have lived at Dragonfly Farm ever since Great-great-grandfather Joseph won it in a game of cards from Casper Culbone. And Casper stole Eleanor, the love of Joseph's life, in revenge.
When Gum, Great Uncle Matthew Melchior, dies after a road accident, his will has great ramifications for Tabitha and her cousin, Georgia, his great nieces, especially when they find that Gabriel Culbone has also been included as a beneficiary, and Dragonfly Farm will be split three ways. How can Tabitha continue to live there and what about her plans to produce a sparkling apple wine from the orchards in honour of her late great aunt, Joy?
Gabriel, too, is shocked to find he's been left a share of the farm that he's never heard of. How can he uproot his partner, Lola, and their daughter, Plum? Does he even want to? He's never heard of these Culbones and he's got enough business problems, as it is.
For thirty years the Culbones' home, Rushbrook House, has been empty, but Dash Culbone has decided to leave his job in the City and carry out some ambitious plans. Unfortunately, he is the one who has to tell Tabitha about Gum's accident because Gum had pulled out in front of him. She becomes attracted to him, but how can she be when he is a Culbone?
Secrets abound in this amazing book with fantastic characters you can really believe in, and several intriguing stories woven together to make a gripping novel. I think it would make a fabulous television series!