Finding Dorothy

Finding Dorothy

A Novel

Book - 2019 | First edition.
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"This richly imagined novel tells the story behind The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the book that inspired the iconic film, through the eyes of author L. Frank Baum's intrepid wife, Maud. Hollywood, 1938: As soon as she learns that M-G-M is adapting her late husband's masterpiece for the screen, seventy-seven-year-old Maud Gage Baum sets about trying to finagle her way onto the set. Nineteen years after Frank's passing, Maud is the only person who can help the producers stay true to the spirit of the book--because she's the only one left who knows its secrets. But the moment she hears Judy Garland rehearsing the first notes of "Over the Rainbow," Maud recognizes the yearning that defined her own life story: from her youth as a suffragette's daughter to her coming of age as one of the first women in the Ivy League, from her blossoming romance with Frank to the hardscrabble prairie years that inspired The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Judy reminds Maud of a young girl she cared for and tried to help in South Dakota, a dreamer who never got her happy ending. Now, with the young actress under pressure from the studio as well as her ambitious stage mother, Maud resolves to protect her--the way she tried so hard to protect the real Dorothy"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, [2019]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9780525622109
Branch Call Number: FIC LET
Characteristics: 351 pages ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

IndyPL_AngieL Apr 11, 2019

“Finding Dorothy” is a fictional account of Maud Baum, the wife of L. Frank Baum (author of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” series of books). Told from Maud’s point of view, the book swings back and forth between time periods: from Maud’s girlhood and young womanhood, through her marriage and wido... Read More »

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Jan 17, 2020

For all who enjoy historical fiction, I found this book and author, Elizabeth Letts, to be trustworthy. Her narration of Maud Gage Baum's life proceeds in small increments of time between Maud's life in 1800's and the making of the movie The Wizard of Oz in 1939. Some books with time changes seem chaotic or confusing, but Letts writes very smoothly, all the while incorporating little details of the 1800's. Both educational and entertaining; I may now read more books by L. Frank Baum.

Jan 04, 2020

A magnificent journey taken through the eyes of Maud Baum, the wife of the author of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz".Toggling back and forth between her life and her time on the movie set at MGM, we learn how the elements of the story came to be of which many are surprising. Well researched, the fictional element is minor, so the outcome is more of a non-fiction story. It's always intriguing to learn of a famous author's life and in this case, Frank Baum was truly a wizard. Upbeat, loving and visionary, putting family above all else, he broke new ground with the iconic story which to this day, is till one of the best. Highly recommended for all ages, cultures and those who embrace the 'over the rainbow' magic of Oz.

Dec 01, 2019

I loved this book, the way it was written, the characters - you felt that you were right there. Cried at end too!

BPLpicks Nov 11, 2019

In 1939, Maud Gage Baum, widow of the author L. Frank Baum, visited the set of The Wizard of Oz to ensure that the movie stayed true to the spirit of the book. Imagined here are Maud's interactions with the vulnerable young star, Judy Garland, woven together with the memories of her life with Frank and the places, people and events that shaped his magical world of Oz. You don’t have to be a big fan of the Wizard of Oz to enjoy this; it is a story of a resilient and self-sufficient woman living in a time when women's independence was limited. Well-researched and readable; the author’s respect for the subject is evident.

LoganLib_Kylie Oct 21, 2019

The Wizard of Oz as experienced by Maud Gage Baum, L. Frank Baum's (Author of The Wizard of Oz) wife, the daughter of suffragette Matilda Joslyn Gage. Moving effortlessly between time periods, this historical fiction will sweep you away, like the tornado that swept away Dorothy.

Jul 07, 2019

This was a great read - quick read and a very interesting story. I loved the connection with the suffragettes too. I cried at the end also. Highly recommend.

May 29, 2019

Fantastic book. Wonderful characters, interesting time period, fascinating details. It moves seamlessly between time lines. Great to know more about the genius behind The Wizard of Oz and his remarkable wife.

IndyPL_AngieL Apr 11, 2019

“Finding Dorothy” is a fictional account of Maud Baum, the wife of L. Frank Baum (author of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” series of books). Told from Maud’s point of view, the book swings back and forth between time periods: from Maud’s girlhood and young womanhood, through her marriage and widowhood, to Hollywood’s MGM studios in the late 1930’s—when Judy Garland and many others were first preparing to film the screen version of “The Wizard of Oz.” Maud feels fiercely protective of her now-deceased husband’s book, and she is determined to see that the movie is properly made based on what her beloved husband envisioned. But Maud can’t help noticing how young Judy is treated on the set, and becomes just as fierce in her protection of the innocent young girl. A great read for anyone looking for a fictionalized version of the events surrounding the making of “The Wizard of Oz,” and the equally interesting story of this quiet but passionate woman.

Mar 16, 2019


Mar 14, 2019

Thoroughly enjoyed the movie every spring as a child and I was very interested in the story behind it. The author did not disappoint. I couldn’t put it down.

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