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Summary

Nicola Harrison's The Show Girl gives a glimpse of the glamorous world of the Ziegfeld Follies, through the eyes of a young midwestern woman who comes to New York City to find her destiny as a Ziegfeld Follies star.

It's 1927 when Olive McCormick moves from Minneapolis to New York City determined to become a star in the Ziegfeld Follies. Extremely talented as a singer and dancer, it takes every bit of perseverance to finally make it on stage. And once she does, all the glamour and excitement is everything she imagined and more - even worth all the sacrifices she has had to make along the way.

Then she meets Archie Carmichael. Handsome, wealthy - the only man she's ever met who seems to accept her modern ways - her independent nature and passion for success. But once she accepts his proposal of marriage he starts to change his tune, and Olive must decide if she is willing to reveal a devastating secret and sacrifice the life she loves for the man she loves. 

A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin's Press

©2021 Nicola Harrison (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

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Profile Image for HistoryNerd
  • HistoryNerd
  • 22-08-21

Great Story…for the Most Part

“The Show Girl” was a pretty enjoyable story though there are parts that don’t ring true from a historical perspective. I find it a bit difficult to believe that an upper middle class girl like Olive would have been a performer, even in the 1920s. Possibly yes, when she starts out as a player in an operatic company but that’s vastly different from being a Ziegfeld girl. Her parents are justifiably horrified and I do wonder if Olive would have even considered it given her upbringing. We like to look back at women in years gone by and impose a modern mentality on them but the reality is that the majority conformed to their position in society. Only in extreme circumstances did many deviate from the paths set before them. The stories we read of real historical women going astray are noteworthy simply because they were not the norm.

There are other minor issues in the book that caught my attention. For instance, Olive is making $150/week at one point. There were women not making that in the 1960s so I have to wonder how accurate that figure is. Also, Olive and her roommate move into an apartment on 5th Avenue; quite a stretch even if both girls were making $600 per month. Though I will say that the author did accurately portray how odd it was for women to not live with family if they had that option. I just finished my thesis on this subject, and living options for women were difficult to obtain and afford. In any case, given that I’m an academic with more than a passing acquaintance with this period, I imagine that a casual reader wouldn’t be bothered by the things that I noticed.

Despite some of the anachronisms, the story was enjoyable overall. I finished it and in good time too, so that’s usually a solid seal of approval from me!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Kelli Gorr
  • 18-08-21

Was it the writing or the VO?

Maybe it was the source material or just an affected 1920’s voiceover style, but I hate listened to the entire book, because I spent a credit.

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  • DW Plato
  • 09-11-21

This book is probably based dozens of true stories

Another historical fiction highlighting the struggles of real women just trying to live their best lives. It's amazing how far we've come but yet, how much things are still the same. The book is worth reading/listening to, great story if not a bit predictable.

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  • KJ
  • 30-08-21

Unlikeable Main Character

While the story had potential I found the main character to be irritating and unlikeable. Unrealistic storyline and silly character. Very disappointing overall

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  • Denise R
  • 24-08-21

Excellent historical fiction

I am always looking for a good historical fiction other than WWII books. This was excellent and I was engaged from the start! Good narrator for the subject. Highly recommend it!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Melanie Holloway
  • 22-08-21

What a great story !!!

This was a wonderful book !! Characters were well developed , great storyline and very interesting throughout the entire book .

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  • Lisa Martinez
  • 13-03-22

LOVED IT

I listened at a 1.5 speed. Made it more enjoyable for me. Thought the story was great.

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  • RueRue
  • 11-02-22

Grating heroine

It was difficult to care much for the heroine, Olive. She was so self absorbed, selfish, shallow, and bratty. The historical backdrop of NYC just prior to the stock market crash was fun, though.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 23-01-22

Outstanding Novel

I am an avid reader and it's been a very long time since I've enjoyed a book this much. Harrison is very talented and I am looking forward to purchasing her other book. I hope there will be many more to come!
The narration was excellent and easy on the ears and it brought the story to life.

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Profile Image for C. Rodowsky
  • C. Rodowsky
  • 06-01-22

Speed up the narration

The default narration speed is too slow (1.0) if you speed it up to 1.2 it will significantly improve this book. The book being read at 1.2 seemed far more natural so natural I wonder if the publisher deliberately slowed it down.