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“The girls in the picture” by Melanie Benjamin

The girls portrayed in Melanie Benjamin’s latest historical fiction are Mary Pickford and Frances Marion, both pioneers in the movie industry.  Mary Pickford, with her golden curls, was the world’s highest paid and most beloved actress of her time, and earned the title “America’s Sweetheart”.  Frances Marion became one of the first screenwriter at a time where silent movies, called “flickers”, were a big hit.  The two ambitious young women hit it off instantly, their friendship encouraged by their mutual desire to create, to move audiences to a frenzy, to start a revolution.  However, their ambitions were challenged by the limitations imposed on their gender by men and society, and their astronomical success will come at a price.

With reference to Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, Louis B. Mayer, Rudolph Valentino, and Lillian Gish, this historical fiction brings us back to the beginning of Hollywood.

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