The It Girls by Karen Harper

The It Girls

From New York Times bestselling author Karen Harper comes a novel based on the lives of two amazing sisters . . .One sailed the Titanic and started a fashion empire . . .The other overtook Hollywood and scandalized the world . . .Together, they were unstoppable.They rose from genteel poverty, two beautiful sisters, ambitious, witty, seductive. Elinor and Lucy Sutherland ar...

Title:The It Girls
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Edition Language:English

The It Girls Reviews

  • Cindy Burnett

    I struggled a lot with this book. Other than the fact that they apparently served as the source for the expression “It Girl”, I did not understand the choice to write an entire book about Elinor and Lucy Sutherland. From an early age, the two sisters quarreled, treated each other and others poorly, and behaved in ways that certainly did not make me want to learn more about them. Whatever fleeting fame they each had was certainly overshadowed by their poor personal choices. I powered through it b

    I struggled a lot with this book. Other than the fact that they apparently served as the source for the expression “It Girl”, I did not understand the choice to write an entire book about Elinor and Lucy Sutherland. From an early age, the two sisters quarreled, treated each other and others poorly, and behaved in ways that certainly did not make me want to learn more about them. Whatever fleeting fame they each had was certainly overshadowed by their poor personal choices. I powered through it because I had committed to read and review it through LibraryThing, or I would have just put it aside. I received this ARC from LibraryThing and William Morrow. All opinions are my own.

  • Dwi Grandison

    The bond between sisters is one of fierceness that can not be duplicated. Sisters fiercely support each other and take down those who battle against them. But sisters can be fiercely judgmental towards one another and that judgmental feeling can turn into animosity that can test the very bond itself. Karen Harper has written a fantastic tale of sisters and all that comes with the closeness they share. Elinor and Lucy Sutherland are stunning characters that truly define the idea of sisterhood. Th

    The bond between sisters is one of fierceness that can not be duplicated. Sisters fiercely support each other and take down those who battle against them. But sisters can be fiercely judgmental towards one another and that judgmental feeling can turn into animosity that can test the very bond itself. Karen Harper has written a fantastic tale of sisters and all that comes with the closeness they share. Elinor and Lucy Sutherland are stunning characters that truly define the idea of sisterhood. They are the best of friends who can also be the worst of enemies. The It Girls is a wonderful historical novel that brings you into this family's world and you feel a part of these women's lives and a part of history.

  • Stephanie

    3.5 Stars

    Karen Harper is one of my all-time favorite historical fiction writers, and she has done another fantastic job bringing to life sisters Elinor Glyn and Lucile Duff-Gordon in her newest novel,

    .

    This is an engrossing novel that begins in the late nineteenth-century when Nellie and Lucy Sutherland are just young, imaginative girls with dreams of money, love, success, and adventure, and the account of their lives continues several decades into the early twentieth century and inc

    3.5 Stars

    Karen Harper is one of my all-time favorite historical fiction writers, and she has done another fantastic job bringing to life sisters Elinor Glyn and Lucile Duff-Gordon in her newest novel,

    .

    This is an engrossing novel that begins in the late nineteenth-century when Nellie and Lucy Sutherland are just young, imaginative girls with dreams of money, love, success, and adventure, and the account of their lives continues several decades into the early twentieth century and includes momentous events in history such as the sinking of the Titanic, which Lucy survived and the events of World War I.

    Harper has woven a plot rich in the complexities faced by women of this era to be independent (both financially and personally), break gender norms, and have lives not ruled by men. Lucile and Elinor were truly women well ahead of their time, and it was captivating to read the two sister's story as they took on the world even as they faced failed (and abusive) marriages, scorn, ridicule, acclaim, worship, and unparalleled success for their times!

    The bond of sisters is at the very heart of

    , and Harper captures it beautifully as she brings to life the stunning characters of Lucile, who from childhood dreamed of designing glorious dresses, and of Elinor, who from childhood dreamed of being a writer. Their support, jealousy, criticism, undying loyalty, and love for each other is unshakeable and carries them through life as they are faced with both successes and failures.

    There were some moments in the novel where the plot dragged a bit as Harper gave a bit too many historical details that just weren't needed at times, or at least that is my humble opinion. Also, I would have enjoyed more in-depth characterizations, but all in all, this is a wonderful read, as usual, by Harper who I always immensely her historical fictional accounts! I truly loved the glamorous, wealthy, glitzy settings and lifestyles that are portrayed, and I really enjoyed reading about so many other famous events like the Titanic and WWI and people, even in passing, such as English royalty and Hollywood royalty.

    I highly recommend

    to anyone who loves historical fiction or reading about strong, intelligent women who break tradition and find their own place in both the world and in society.

    ***Thank you, Edelweiss, William Morrow Paperback, and Karen Harper for an ARC copy of

    in exchange for my honest and fair review.***

  • DJ Sakata

    Favorite Quote:

    Not that I’d like to be a man, but that I’d like to be a woman and not have to act like one.

    My Review:

    Color me an ignoramus, as I did not realize I was reading a book about real people when I started in. I was nearly through the book when I had to stop reading and Google them to be sure - I just had to! While they weren’t model citizens by any means, the Sutherland sisters made a profound impact on society of their time which continues to influence ours. I had heard the term “It g

    Favorite Quote:

    Not that I’d like to be a man, but that I’d like to be a woman and not have to act like one.

    My Review:

    Color me an ignoramus, as I did not realize I was reading a book about real people when I started in. I was nearly through the book when I had to stop reading and Google them to be sure - I just had to! While they weren’t model citizens by any means, the Sutherland sisters made a profound impact on society of their time which continues to influence ours. I had heard the term “It girl” before, and one of the sisters was responsible for coining it. The other sister was responsible for creating and promoting the use of comfortable women’s underwear and more fluid and feminine women’s clothing – so we should all give thanks and kiss our silks and lace for that alone. Both women were highly ambitious, driven, self-centered to a fault and made some horrifically bad choices, but well, haven’t we all? I know I have and am ever so thankful that mine were not documented by a reporter’s lens.

    Ms. Harper has chronicled the sisters in an entertaining, intriguing, and colorful manner from their childhood sneak of hiding under a dressing table to catch a glimpse of Lily Langtry on the island of Jersey, through their unfortunate marriages and convention-shattering careers. I cannot imagine the massive amount of research she had to have combed through to pull all this together. The morals of the time seemed contradictory but, not my culture or my problem, but I found it odd that adultery, bankruptcy, alcoholism, sloth, and abandonment were viewed as less damning to a reputation than divorce, but those were the times.

  • Linda Zagon

     MY REVIEW OF 'THE IT GIRLS" by Karen Harper

    "The It Girls" by Karen Harper is an intriguing account of how fiction and history can work in a novel. The genres for this novel are Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction, and Fiction. The timeline for this story is  set from 1875, and goes into the twentieth century after The Great War or World War 1, and then some years after. The location of this story vacillates between Europe,(England, Paris, France,Scotland) and the United States.

    The author descri

     MY REVIEW OF 'THE IT GIRLS" by Karen Harper

    "The It Girls" by Karen Harper is an intriguing account of how fiction and history can work in a novel. The genres for this novel are Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction, and Fiction. The timeline for this story is  set from 1875, and goes into the twentieth century after The Great War or World War 1, and then some years after. The location of this story vacillates between Europe,(England, Paris, France,Scotland) and the United States.

    The author describes the two sisters that represent the "It Girls" as complex, complicated and competitive. There are a cast of characters that are quirky, colorful, betraying, disloyal, and  some  friends and family that are loving and loyal.   Elinor and Lucy Sutherland are ambitious, creative, self-centered and adventurous. Both sisters, even as young girls looked for ways to be creative and seek adventure. Lucy's dreams were to design fabulous dresses and Elinor aspired to be a writer.

    The author takes the reader on a journey through the historical times, and acceptable traditions, with the two sisters. Both women have highs and lows in their careers as well as in their love lives.  One of the sisters is aboard the Titanic and survives, when the ship sinks. One sister escapes being abducted. The author shows us the times in Europe during World War 1, and how the sisters  provided help.

    The author portrays the glamorous and wealthy lifestyle of famous people, set against the backdrop of history.   Wealth and success  and their careers were very important to the sisters, often causing complications with their family.

    I appreciate the author's extensive historical research into the characters and the times.

    I would recommend this novel for those readers that appreciate Historical Fiction.

    I received an ARC of this book for my honest review.

  • Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    An authoress and a dressmaker on the loose.

    Nellie and Lucy were sisters and were mischievous from the start. They went through thick and thin together.

    The time was early 1800's and women were to be wed and not be in a trade, but the Sutherland girls didn't abide. Well Lucy didn't. Nellie sort of did, but she still had high hopes of her books being published, and they were published.

    We follow both girls from their childhood to becoming adults. The writing pulled you into the story line and kept

    An authoress and a dressmaker on the loose.

    Nellie and Lucy were sisters and were mischievous from the start. They went through thick and thin together.

    The time was early 1800's and women were to be wed and not be in a trade, but the Sutherland girls didn't abide. Well Lucy didn't. Nellie sort of did, but she still had high hopes of her books being published, and they were published.

    We follow both girls from their childhood to becoming adults. The writing pulled you into the story line and kept your interest with the antics of Nellie and Lucy.

    Both women are delightful, strong, and enthusiastic about their chosen choices for what they decided they wanted to do.

    They both had "it" - charisma and charm.

    I enjoyed how excited Lucy was about her dressmaking business and how Nellie was happy or seemed happy with her life with her husband in the beginning.

    Lucy's gowns were named for passion further increasing the moving forward of women. Some thought the names and her products were scandalous.

    Nellie’s books were considered scandalous as well.

    One of the gowns was titled: DO YOU LOVE ME.

    Along with the gowns and the scandalous books her sister has been writing, the two women kept moving forward making a name for themselves. :)

    We follow their business dealings and their love life.

    THE IT GIRLS is set in the late 1800's when these two feisty women want to change from only being homemakers to being able to handle a career as well.

    If you enjoy cheering on women who most likely led the way for all women to make a name for themselves, then you won't want to miss reading THE IT GIRLS.

    The cover is dazzling just like the two main characters.

    My only complaint was that the story line dragged out a bit at times.

    If you enjoy determined women, fashion, and books, you will love THE IT GIRLS. 4/5

    This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  • Miriam

    We think the term “It” is new, is hip, but there were “It” Girls and ideas in the late 1800s. Karen Harper brings two charming, ambitious, and highly successful Sutherland sisters out of obscurity and into the limelight in her newest novel.

    Harper weaves a tight story of friendship and sisterly rivalry, of hopes achieved and dashed. You’ll be drawn into the descriptions of clothing, the hints of scandal, and the passion that lies beneath the story. Stand alone historical fiction, "It Girls" will

    We think the term “It” is new, is hip, but there were “It” Girls and ideas in the late 1800s. Karen Harper brings two charming, ambitious, and highly successful Sutherland sisters out of obscurity and into the limelight in her newest novel.

    Harper weaves a tight story of friendship and sisterly rivalry, of hopes achieved and dashed. You’ll be drawn into the descriptions of clothing, the hints of scandal, and the passion that lies beneath the story. Stand alone historical fiction, "It Girls" will leave you yearning for more success stories.

    Karen Harper will be launching her book at the BookLoft of German Village, Columbus, OH

    on November 1, 2017

  • Meg - A Bookish Affair

    "The It Girls" covers the lives of Elinor and Lucile Sutherland who lived during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Both of these women lived when the world was changing rapidly and they both often seemed to be in the middle of some of the greatest changes. The book covers from their childhood all the way to when they were well into middle age. Because this book covers so much of their lives, the book often felt like vignettes and I kept wishing for it to slow down. This book certainly whet my appe

    "The It Girls" covers the lives of Elinor and Lucile Sutherland who lived during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Both of these women lived when the world was changing rapidly and they both often seemed to be in the middle of some of the greatest changes. The book covers from their childhood all the way to when they were well into middle age. Because this book covers so much of their lives, the book often felt like vignettes and I kept wishing for it to slow down. This book certainly whet my appetite to learn more about these two women.

    From being an author and a fashion designer (Elinor and Lucile respectively), to relationships good and bad, to all of the thrills and difficulties of being sisters, this book had a lot going on. It was interesting to see how both characters grow and change throughout the book. They go from being super close to each other to sniping at each other to criticizing and back to being super close again.

    This book is ambitious in how much it tries to cover in the story. Both Elinor and Lucile lived incredibly full lives between their personal lives, travels, and careers. This book certainly gives a taste of this but only a taste. As an example, even though the Titanic appears prominently on the cover and it was a huge event, it only makes up a tiny bit of the narrative. I wanted to know more, not just about the boat and it's aftermath (the hint of the criticism that Lucile and her husband get after getting in a lifeboat to be rescued would have been fascinating). I wish the book had been more focused so that we could get to know the characters much better than we do. That being said, this book still packed a punch with these two women that I knew little about before the book.

  • Lauralee

    The It Girls tells the story of two sisters, Nellie and Lucy, who were the fashionable girls of their day. Nellie becomes a famous author and Lucy is a successful fashion designer. One of the girls penned the famous classic, Three Weeks, and the other survived the Titanic. This novel follows their successes and their trials. Mostly, it explores their sisterly bond that spanned for decades.

    Both Lucy and Nellie are very sympathetic characters. They are both idealistic, romantic, and ambitious. Ev

    The It Girls tells the story of two sisters, Nellie and Lucy, who were the fashionable girls of their day. Nellie becomes a famous author and Lucy is a successful fashion designer. One of the girls penned the famous classic, Three Weeks, and the other survived the Titanic. This novel follows their successes and their trials. Mostly, it explores their sisterly bond that spanned for decades.

    Both Lucy and Nellie are very sympathetic characters. They are both idealistic, romantic, and ambitious. Even though they came from poverty and experienced a series of hardships, they were still full of determination. Because of their persistence, they were able to pull off their dreams. Thus, I admire these characters’ willpower. However, these characters still felt flat for me. They were sometimes jealous and cruel to each other. They also seemed very alike and it was hard for me to distinguish the sisters except through their occupation. Therefore, I thought that they needed more character development to make them more unique.

    Overall, this book is about betrayal, first love, and sisterhood. The message of this book is to fulfill your dreams. I thought that the characters were flat. The supporting characters had little depth. The story seemed to be very rushed. It never really explores Nellie and Lucy’s relationships. The novel had many time jumps in order to get to the main details of the sisters. Because of the time jumps, it left me confused, and I had to reread multiple paragraphs to get a better understanding of their situations. Thus, I would have liked if the book had smoother transitions. I also thought that the writing was choppy. There was also much more dialogue than description in the novel. Because of this, I think it would have been better as a screenplay. Despite the novel’s flaws, it was still very enjoyable. I had never heard of these girls before, and they seem to have a dramatic lifestyle. Thus, I recommend The It Girls to fans of The Girl Who Came Home, Stars Over Sunset Boulevard, and A Certain Age.

    (Note: I read an ARC copy of this book in courtesy of Edelweiss.)

  • N.

    Giving up at p. 189.

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