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Diana Reep
Chicago Movie Girls
D. C. Reep, author
Three sisters in 1914 fight for success in Chicago’s early movie industry, but face betrayal and danger. When Rae Kelly picks a pocket, the empty wallet contains only a list of mysterious numbers. After Lukas Krantz, a local gangster, buys the wallet and paper, he gives Rae and her two sisters an entry into RidgeW Pictures, where Matt Ridgewood struggles to make his studio competitive. Sensible Rae lies about her age to star as a child adventurer. Gorgeous Lily plays a sweet heroine in westerns while aiming for a rich society husband. Reckless Delia abandons her farmer-husband and takes off her clothes for the camera. Loyal to each other, the sisters struggle with misplaced passions, deception, looming World War I, and even murder.
Repp and Allen’s enjoyable ripsnorter features three sisters who are striving for acting success in the silent movie scene in 1914 Chicago. After their mother runs off, Rae and Lily are also deserted by their father, who robs them of their savings. Desperate for money, pickpocket Rae lifts a wallet containing a piece of paper with mysterious numbers written on it, which she sells to gangster Lukas Krantz; Lukas realizes the paper gives him leverage over local officials and gratefully sends Rae to an audition at Matt Ridgewood’s film studio, which he owns. Soon Rae’s stardom soars as a young comic adventurer, and beautiful Lily plays an angelic heroine, bedecked in ruffles. Oldest sister Delia, who lives a boring life on an onion farm in Wisconsin, leaves her husband and joins her sisters on set, cast as a seductress in breast-baring shirtwaists and fancy garters. Rae falls in love with a costar who leaves to fight in WWI, Lily marries a wealthy hotelier, and Delia marries again. Betrayal, jealousy, and lovesick suitors power a fast-moving plot with several twists and turns, and murder provides a dollop of mayhem to further animate the story. The intriguing early years of filmmaking combined with the rich Chicago setting make this satisfying entertainment. (BookLife)