The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard
By Erin McGraw
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780618386284, 384pp.)
Publication Date: August 1, 2008
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Based on Erin McGraw's grandmother's life, here is the story--told in Nell's own irreverent and wise voice--of what happens when Nell runs away to Los Angeles in the year 1901 as the new motion-picture industry is just taking root. Nell marries again, has a daughter, and goes into business as a costumer in the Hollywood of the Roaring Twenties, renaming herself Madame Annelle. But a knock on the door by her grown daughters, precisely the thing she has most feared, threatens to take apart the new life Nell has so carefully built. Forced to confront the legacy of the life she believed she had shed, Nell struggles to make the right choices the second time around and finds herself truly transformed.
In vividly bringing to life the story of Nell Plat, Erin McGraw gives voice to the stories of the countless young women who, unsatisfied with their lives, headed to Hollywood in its heyday. The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard magically recreates that glamorous time and place, and allows us to witness it beautifully dressed, well lit, and close up.
Erin McGraw is the author of four previous books, including The Good Life and Lies of the Saints (a New York Times Notable Book). She has published stories and essays in the Atlantic Monthly, Story, and other publications. She is married to the poet Andrew Hudgins and is a professor of creative writing at Ohio State University.