Friday, October 27, 2017

Review: The It Girls

Elinor and Lucy Sutherland were the original "it girls." They challenged what was acceptable for women in their day and rose to prominence in their fields. Lucy ignored the rules that said women of a certain class could not work and became one of the most beloved fashion designers of her time in several countries. Her sister dared to dream of being a famous author and transported her readers with tales of women who traveled the world and pursued their men instead of waiting demurely to be pursued. The two women fought for and with each other, but their lives spanned some of the most fascinating times and places of the 20th century.

Karen Harper has taken on a gargantuan task as she takes readers through fifty years of two women's lives. This means that there is a lot of ground to cover, but unfortunately it leaves readers with only a few pages to spend with secondary characters. It occasionally feels like name-dropping when Elinor chats with Charlie Chaplin or Lucy makes a gown for a lady heading to an event at the palace. But it also makes it difficult to really know the people in Elinor and Lucy's lives--their mother, their lovers, and their children. Harper has divided the book up into sections, with each one covering several years and switching perspective between the sisters. This means that when the two sisters do interact, they often spend pages filling in their sister and the reader on things that the other probably would have already known.

The It Girls is a good choice for someone who wants an overview of the huge changes that happened in the 20th century. It also reminds us of the restrictions and expectations that were placed on the women who came before us, as Elinor and Lucy fight to make their own decisions about their careers, lives, and families.

The It Girls
By Karen Harper
William Morrow Paperbacks October 2017
384 pages
From the publisher for TLC Book Tours


  1. Sometimes I think authors try to cover too much; I'd be more interested in a book that delved more deeply into one period of their lives that really let you get a feel for them and the other characters in their lives instead of such a broad overview. (But it is a great cover!)

    1. I would too. I also thought it was interesting that so much of the description revolved around their sisterhood, when they spent years apart and often fought!

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.