The Girls in the Picture

The Girls in the Picture

An intimate portrait of the close friendship and powerful creative partnership between two of Hollywood’s earliest female superstars: Frances Marion and Mary Pickford. An enchanting new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and The Aviator’s Wife.Hollywood, 1914. Frances Marion, a young writer desperate for a break, meets “America’s...

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Title:The Girls in the Picture
Author:Melanie Benjamin
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Edition Language:English

The Girls in the Picture Reviews

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

    Before reading this book, what I knew about Mary Pickford, America’s Sweetheart, was vague. I knew even less about her best friend and prolific screenwriter, Frances Marion. As I read this, I kept thinking this book is epic. This book was engrossing, unputdownable, thorough, perfectly written. I can’t imagine two more fully-developed and well-crafted “characters” than Mary and Frances, and it’s a bonus that they were based

    ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

    Before reading this book, what I knew about Mary Pickford, America’s Sweetheart, was vague. I knew even less about her best friend and prolific screenwriter, Frances Marion. As I read this, I kept thinking this book is epic. This book was engrossing, unputdownable, thorough, perfectly written. I can’t imagine two more fully-developed and well-crafted “characters” than Mary and Frances, and it’s a bonus that they were based on real life people and heaps of research carried out by the author.

    Just as I knew little of Pickford and Marion, I knew even less about these early days of Hollywood. The silent flickers, Charlie Chaplin, the first talkies, and the founding of major film studios. I love learning new things while I read, which is why historical fiction continues to be a favorite genre of mine. These things were just the cherry on top of the sundae because the heart of the story was the ever-evolving, endearingly relatable, and complex friendship between Mary and Frances. Anyone who has had a lifelong friend will be able to relate to at least some of the waxing and waning, affection and strife, that the two experienced. In addition to their friendship, these two had full, adventurous lives, which made me their stories even more enthralling.

    An important message was the role of women, especially strong, trailblazing women, in early Hollywood. It was interesting to read this book just after another WWI book (Last Christmas in Paris), which also featured a female journalist and war correspondent. It was also fascinating to read about Hollywood and the US during that war to get a different perspective from England and France who had no choice but to be fully immersed in the war from its inception.

    If you are a fan of historical fiction, especially involving early Hollywood, this is an absolute must-read. Fabulous book!

    I happen to have all of Melanie Benjamin’s backlist purchased previously and somehow languishing unread. After finishing this book, I’ll be making sure I carve out time to read each of her other books. I’m hoping for some more epic historical reads!

    Thanks to Melanie Benjamin, Random House/Delacorte Press, and Netgalley, for the complimentary ARC.

  • Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)

    You can read this and all of my reviews at

    .

    I really enjoyed

    and started getting excited about

    as soon as it was announced. In fact, it was the book I was most excited about receiving at Book Expo 2017. Melanie Benjamin was as much a delight in person, at her in-booth signing, as she is on her social media accounts. She even allowed me to blather on about her kitchen reno (it looks fantastic) and her cats at some length without

    You can read this and all of my reviews at

    .

    I really enjoyed

    and started getting excited about

    as soon as it was announced. In fact, it was the book I was most excited about receiving at Book Expo 2017. Melanie Benjamin was as much a delight in person, at her in-booth signing, as she is on her social media accounts. She even allowed me to blather on about her kitchen reno (it looks fantastic) and her cats at some length without calling security.

    As for the book, it did not disappoint. It’s very evident that the author did an enormous amount of research on Mary Pickford and Frances Marion, their families, lovers, husbands, and the movie industry itself. I was fascinated by the actual events leading to their rise to power in Hollywood.

    The elements that made this book

    , however, are the character development and the portrayal of the relationship between Mary and Frances. Melanie Benjamin has taken the historic information and weaved in a little imagination/magic, creating characters that are beyond multi-dimensional. They are as highly nuanced as their relationships with one another.

    In reading

    , I was constantly reminded of the sacrifice and struggles women have always had to make in order to get to the tops of their professions. Hollywood was certainly no exception, then or now. Their fast, glamorous, monied lives did not come at no cost.

    This book is an excellent exploration of the friendships of strong women – admiration, respect, mutual dependency, jealousy, insecurity – it’s all here in a very real way. Though their friendship was tumultuous at time, I felt that their connection transcended the trivialities of the moment. The end of the book made me teary and reflective of some of my own friendships.

    After reading these two latest novels, I’d definitely look forward to reading anything Melanie Benjamin writes in the future but I’d also love to read some of her previous works.

    Many thanks to Delacorte Press for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Theresa Alan

    This is a novel I will be recommending to everyone. Historical fiction, The Girls in the Picture is a book for everyone who has an interest in the evolution of film and of women trying to be taken seriously in the workplace.

    Frances doesn't want to be an actress, but she wants to be a part of the movies, and she finds her niche as a "scenarist" during the era of silent films, when the "flickers" were considered a low form of entertainment and certainly not an art form. She becomes great friends w

    This is a novel I will be recommending to everyone. Historical fiction, The Girls in the Picture is a book for everyone who has an interest in the evolution of film and of women trying to be taken seriously in the workplace.

    Frances doesn't want to be an actress, but she wants to be a part of the movies, and she finds her niche as a "scenarist" during the era of silent films, when the "flickers" were considered a low form of entertainment and certainly not an art form. She becomes great friends with Mary, who has been on the stage taking care of the rest of her family since she was just eight years old. Mary comes to the flickers because of the money. The two women are at the forefront of a burgeoning industry, which means becoming the first movie stars with rabid fans.

    The story covers the challenges of the casting couch for female actresses. Women can't take time off for children--men don't have that worry and can have all the kids they want. All the Harvey Weinstein-esque terrible sexual behavior existed then, but perhaps worse was that women's ideas were also belittled.

    Marriage, life, and careers strain their friendship. The Girls in the Picture is a masterfully written novel about the personal and professional bonds of women during a fascinating time in history.

    Thanks so much to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book, which RELEASES JAN 16, 2018.

    For more of my reviews, please visit

  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    The Girls in the Picture is a book that I knew that I wanted to read as soon as I saw it. I love reading historical fiction about movie stars, or stories that in one way or another takes place in Hollywood. Especially around the Silent movie era and when the talkies came. I had only previously read Reckless Hearts: A Story of Slim Hawks and Ernest Hemingway by Melanie Benjamin, but she has written several books that I want to read.

    What really struck me about this book was, despite, my deep love

    The Girls in the Picture is a book that I knew that I wanted to read as soon as I saw it. I love reading historical fiction about movie stars, or stories that in one way or another takes place in Hollywood. Especially around the Silent movie era and when the talkies came. I had only previously read Reckless Hearts: A Story of Slim Hawks and Ernest Hemingway by Melanie Benjamin, but she has written several books that I want to read.

    What really struck me about this book was, despite, my deep love for silent movies, and old Hollywood classics is that Frances Marion was totally unknown to me. And she's behind several of my favorite movies, like A Scarlet Letter with Lars Hanson and Lillian Gish. Also, I had no idea that she was a close friend of Mary Pickford.

    In this book, we get a fictional story about the friendship between Frances Marion and Mary Pickford. I enjoyed getting to know the women more and I especially enjoyed learning more about their lives. Both had great love stories, but neither had truly happy lives, despite, their success. Not all of their lives are written in this book, as Melanie Benjamin stated in her notes, just Mary Pickford relationship with her adopted children would fill a whole book. I personally had to take a break from the book several times to check up a name or a title, etc.

    The Girls in the Picture is definitely a book to read if you, like me, love old Hollywood movies and are intrigued by the actors and actors from the golden era. I was charmed by the cameos, especially Charlie Chaplin's presence in the book. Made me eager to read a book about him or see his movies.

  • Sue

    I enjoy historical fiction books but had never read anything about the early days of the movies. This book covered the careers of Mary Pickford, one of America's first movie stars and Frances Marion, an early screenwriter. The author had done significant research into the lives and careers of both of these women and the story was both educational and great fun to read. Mary and Frances became great friends and stuck with each other through good and bad. They were actually very liberated for the

    I enjoy historical fiction books but had never read anything about the early days of the movies. This book covered the careers of Mary Pickford, one of America's first movie stars and Frances Marion, an early screenwriter. The author had done significant research into the lives and careers of both of these women and the story was both educational and great fun to read. Mary and Frances became great friends and stuck with each other through good and bad. They were actually very liberated for the time and vowed that no man would come between them. They stood up to studio heads and directors to get their way in the early movies and Frances wrote movies for Mary Pickford to star in. They knew that they were looked down on for being women but vowed to stay strong together. Their friendship was ruined by (of course) a man -- Mary fell in love with Douglas Fairbanks and her entire attitude changed as she began to live life the way he wanted to and seemed to lose herself in the relationship.

    This is the story of two strong women in the early days of Hollywood. Their friendship and the changes they tried to make in their world are a great story to read. I've gone back to read information about both of them. I'd heard of Mary Pickford but never Frances Marion - who was a very well known screen writer who earned two Academy Awards. This is a very well written and well-researched book and I enjoyed reading it.

    Thanks to goodreads for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.

  • Toni

    Women are back in the news to regain their place among men in what we always think is "a man's world." Back in 1910 through 1920 two smart women made their imprint in the growing stages of Hollywood in that critical transition from silent era to "talkies." Even many big name stars fell by the side of the road during this major event.

    Mary Pickford started out as that little girl with the golden curls, but what no one knew at the time was that underneath all that innocence was a tough, competitive

    Women are back in the news to regain their place among men in what we always think is "a man's world." Back in 1910 through 1920 two smart women made their imprint in the growing stages of Hollywood in that critical transition from silent era to "talkies." Even many big name stars fell by the side of the road during this major event.

    Mary Pickford started out as that little girl with the golden curls, but what no one knew at the time was that underneath all that innocence was a tough, competitive businesswoman. Her friend, who she met by the grace of God and the will of seeking employment, was Frances Marion, a creative writer persistent on becoming a screenwriter. She had more stories in her than she knew what to do with. Together these women were the highest paid actor and screenwriter in the 1920's and they just happened to be women. Their story is a must read!

    Mary Pickford founded United Artists with Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, and DW Griffin, to buck the studio system in 1919. She also founded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, (the Oscars); and the Motion Picture Fund, to help aging actors no longer working.

    Frances Marion wrote many famous films, some favorites are: Big House, Dinner at Eight (my favorite), The Champ, Anne of Green Gables, and many more. Naturally, their story is more complex than their awards, they had many personal hardships in their lives as well. If you love classic film, this book covers these two profound women in depth, so I encourage you to read it.

    Thank you Netgalley!

  • Judy

    Engrossing story of Mary Pickford and Frances Marion, two pioneers in the movie industry, beginning in 1914. Mary Pickford starred in "flickers" (silent movies) and was known as America's sweetheart. Frances Marion became a famous screenwriter - one of the first females in the industry. The two women became very close friends, and this is the story of their friendship. It is also the story of the very beginnings of the movies and Hollywood, and famous film stars.

    Mary and Frances are very close

    Engrossing story of Mary Pickford and Frances Marion, two pioneers in the movie industry, beginning in 1914. Mary Pickford starred in "flickers" (silent movies) and was known as America's sweetheart. Frances Marion became a famous screenwriter - one of the first females in the industry. The two women became very close friends, and this is the story of their friendship. It is also the story of the very beginnings of the movies and Hollywood, and famous film stars.

    Mary and Frances are very close and their friendship is a strong bond. However, there are many ups and downs in their friendship and insecurities that cause pain. There is an element of jealousy from both women that affects the friendship. Also, their marriages certainly had an effect on the friendship as well.

    If you like movie history you will like this book. I really enjoyed it. It read very much like a memoir and most of the events actually happened, although the dialogue was fictional.

    Thanks to Melanie Benjamin and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine through Netgalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

  • Karen

    I was drawn to this story based on the summary and the fact that I enjoyed two of Melanie Benjamin’s previous books. The Girls in the Picture is another good story. Right off the bat, Benjamin’s stage-setting for the future partnership between “America’s Sweetheart” Mary Pickford and renowned Academy Award winning screenwriter Frances Marion hooked me.

    Despite early rejection of powerful men in the movie industry, the success of Marion and Pickford’s public screening of Poor Little Rich Girl put

    I was drawn to this story based on the summary and the fact that I enjoyed two of Melanie Benjamin’s previous books. The Girls in the Picture is another good story. Right off the bat, Benjamin’s stage-setting for the future partnership between “America’s Sweetheart” Mary Pickford and renowned Academy Award winning screenwriter Frances Marion hooked me.

    Despite early rejection of powerful men in the movie industry, the success of Marion and Pickford’s public screening of Poor Little Rich Girl put these savvy women on the map. The public stood up and cheered, the pragmatic women regained their confidence and forged ahead to make movies the way THEY wanted to. They became powerful forces to be reckoned with, trailblazing businesswomen in a young Hollywood who would go on to make significant contributions in the movie industry. I loved their portrayal by Benjamin. Their smarts, perseverance and vision shone. Their individual stories are enjoyable enough but together, its magic. I looked forward to each of their conversations and collaborations. What they accomplished in a male-dominated world was impressive and this is a story I will not soon forget. It has spurred me on to watch some of their old movies with my new perspective. Thanks to the Random House/Delacorte for an early ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  • ☮Karen

    3.5 stars

    About a century ago, actress Mary Pickford and scenarist Frances Marion were best friends as their young careers were just taking off. Together, they forged new paths for women in their industry, with Mary forming United Artist's studio with husband Douglas Fairbanks, and Frances being the best and highest paid female screenwriter. With today's spotlight on Hollywood's so-called casting couch, this story was quite timely in detailing how that term started, when these two women were in t

    3.5 stars

    About a century ago, actress Mary Pickford and scenarist Frances Marion were best friends as their young careers were just taking off. Together, they forged new paths for women in their industry, with Mary forming United Artist's studio with husband Douglas Fairbanks, and Frances being the best and highest paid female screenwriter. With today's spotlight on Hollywood's so-called casting couch, this story was quite timely in detailing how that term started, when these two women were in their thirties, their careers winding down. Despite the strides made by these women, men still held the power and got away with pinching and feeling up whatever female body parts they desired. Actresses who had babies, even those who were married, risked outrage from their fans, while actors and studio heads could sire a dozen or more children with no such risks.

    Told in alternating chapters from each of the women's points of view, the book was certainly interesting, but not in a "can't wait to get back to that book" way. It is honest and forthcoming, which makes for a likeable historical fiction tale. It tells of two friends who grew estranged for different reasons, but were together courageous pioneers in their fields and impacted the film industry just as much as any of the studio heads of their time. Unfortunately, I thought it a bit repetitive and on the longish side. My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy.

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