I’m spending the day with Melanie Benjamin’s new novel, THE GIRLS IN THE PICTURE. It’s a beautifully told and timely story about powerful women in early Hollywood. GREAT!! —Edward Kelsey Moore
From Melanie Benjamin, the New York Times bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and The Aviator’s Wife
The Girls in the Picture tells the fascinating story of the friendship and creative partnership between two of Hollywood’s earliest female legends, screenwriter Frances Marion and silent-movie superstar Mary Pickford.
The story begins in 1914 when 25-year-old Frances Marion leaves her husband and her Northern California home for the lure of Los Angeles, where she is determined to live independently as an artist. There she finds her true calling, writing stories for the booming new medium of film. She also makes the acquaintance of actress Mary Pickford, whose signature golden curls and lively spirit have earned her the title “America’s Sweetheart.”
The two young women hit it off instantly, but their ambitions are challenged by both the men around them and the limitations imposed on their gender—and they realize their astronomical success could come at a price. As in any good Hollywood story, dramas play out, personalities clash, and even the deepest friendships might be shattered.
With cameos from such notables as Charlie Chaplin, Louis B. Mayer, Rudolph Valentino, and Lillian Gish, The Girls in the Picture is, at its heart, a story of friendship and forgiveness. Melanie Benjamin perfectly captures the dawn of a glittering era—newly formed Hollywood’s myths and icons, its possibilities and potential, and its seduction and heartbreak.
“Benjamin immerses readers in the whirlwind excitement of Mary and Frances’ lives while portraying a rarely seen character—an early woman screenwriter—and deftly [explores] the complexities of female friendship.”--Booklist
“One of the pleasures of The Girls in the Picture is its no-males-necessary alliance of two determined females. #TimesUp before its time.”--NPR
“Girls could not be more timely—or troubling—about the treatment of women in the workplace... [A] rich exploration of two Hollywood friends who shaped the movies.”--USA Today
“This engrossing and rewarding read provides the same mixture of well-researched plot and fascinating characters [that] made Benjamin’s previous novels so outstanding.”--Library Journal (starred review)
“The heady, infectious energy of the fledgling film industry in Los Angeles is convincingly conveyed—and the loving but competitive friendship between these two women on the rise in a man’s world is a powerful source of both tension and relatability.”--Publishers Weekly
The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin. Available now in Hardcover, E-book and Audiobook.
A few months back (during a busy autumn), E.K.M. made a short speech at the Indianapolis Public Library. The occasion was the launch of a new Center for Black Literature and Culture at their Central Library (among the most beautiful libraries in the U.S.). In the speech E.K.M. tells of growing up around Indianapolis and his personal experience with libraries (in general) and a funny story that took place in that actual library. (We’ve added some pictures of the library so you can get a sense of the building.) The video of Edward’s speech runs about 16 minutes and if you’re a fan of the author (or a little curious) we think you’ll enjoy it!
Click on the images above to enlarge, or click below to see a very short video about the new Center for Black Literature and Culture.