Tuesday, May 10, 2022

The Blue Butterfly by Leslie Johansen Nack


What is your favorite movie from the 1920s or 1930s?  Do you have a favorite classic Hollywood star?

Marion Davies was a chorus girl in New York City when she met the older, wealthy, and famous William Randolph Hearst.  Hearst was already a newspaper media tycoon and a married father of five.  He is struck by the teenage Davies and soon the two have started a relationship.  Marion Davies hopes that it will lead to marriage, but she soon finds that she will always be the mistress while Hearst keeps his family life.  With the help of Hearst, Davies embarks on a movie career and ends up in Hollywood.  As Hearst works on his famous castle, Davies befriends Hollywood royalty and becomes one of the top stars of the 1920s.  As times change, Davies and Hearst stick together through sickness and health, times of financial and social ruin. 

I didn’t know much about Marion Davies going into this novel besides the fact that she was William Randolph Hearst’s mistress and the role that I thought was her in Citizen Kane, Susan Alexander Kane.  I learned from this novel that Davies was actually a very talented actress that had to work through her childhood stutter to succeed.  Her career was helped by Hearst’s publicity but was also hindered by him controlling her parts. 

I am usually not a fan of books about cheating, but William Randolph Hearst’s affair with Marion Davies spanned most of her life until his death.  When his business was about to be ruined, she pulled together her money to help him out.  After he gave up on his political career, they lived openly together. 

I loved the look into old Hollywood and Davies being friends with so many big names in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  She also had a very passionate affair with Charlie Chaplin that I did not know about.  I have never watched a Marion Davies movie before, but now I really want to find one, especially some of her silent movies.

Favorite Quotes:

“Being with WR was like being on a ship far from land on a voyage to some imagined exotic destination that was our perfect life together, and no matter how awful the journey got, there was no way to get off the ship.  The ship was either in good weather or bad weather, it didn’t matter.  I took comfort in that I would always be on the ship with him.”

“Don’t take too much of the insults once they come.  Ignore them.  You and I know the truth of our lives.  Let’s embrace the truth and ignore the rest.”

Overall, The Blue Butterfly was a riveting historical fiction novel about Marion Davies.

Book Source:  A Review Copy from Spark Point Studio and She Writes Press.  Thank-you! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds really interesting! And I love this time period. I'll have to check it out. :)