cover158381-mediumFrom Goodreads: “Maud Gage Baum, widow of the author of the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, met Judy Garland, the young actress playing the role of Dorothy on the set of The Wizard of Oz in 1939. At the time, Maud was seventy-eight and Judy was sixteen. In spite of their age difference, Maud immediately connected to Judy–especially when Maud heard her sing “Over the Rainbow,” a song whose yearning brought to mind the tough years in South Dakota when Maud and her husband struggled to make a living–until Frank Baum’s book became a national sensation.

This wonderfully evocative two-stranded story recreates Maud’s youth as the rebellious daughter of a leading suffragette, and the prairie years of Maud and Frank’s early days when they lived among the people–especially young Dorothy–who would inspire Frank’s masterpiece. Woven into this past story is one set in 1939, describing the high-pressured days on The Wizard of Oz film set where Judy is being badgered by the director, producer, and her ambitious stage mother to lose weight, bind her breasts, and laugh, cry, and act terrified on command. As Maud had promised to protect the original Dorothy back in Aberdeen, she now takes on the job of protecting young Judy.”

My Review

This was such a wonderful dual time book that instantly transported me to America in 1939 and the 1880s.

I loved the 1939 storyline of Maud Baum wanting to protect Judy Garland on and off the set of The Wizard of Oz. Poor Judy is struggling with a few issues, but has no-one she can turn to, not even her pushy mother Ethel Gum. Maud can see this instantly and desperately wants to help, but initially finds it very difficult to get access to the set and Judy. There were some dramatic moments in this storyline, and one in particular that had me gasping out loud when something awful happens to Judy.

It took me a while to warm to the 1880s storyline of Maud growing up and eventually marrying Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz books. In the beginning I was desperate to get back to the Hollywood set in 1939, but then Maud’s 1880 journey really drew me in and I thoroughly enjoyed discovering more about Maud and Frank’s life.

This is a new favourite for me and one I highly recommend for lovers of historical fiction.