Mar 2021 Book Program
Time & Location
About The Event
About the Author
ELIZABETH LETTS is the #1 New York Times bestselling author known for both nonfiction and historical fiction. She majored in history at Yale. After graduation, Elizabeth taught English in a Moroccan high school as a Peace Corps volunteer, then attended the Yale School of Nursing and became a certified nurse-midwife. Into her forties, she revisited her childhood aspiration to write a book someday. Elizabeth happened upon the story at the heart of her first nonfiction book, The Eighty-Dollar Champion (2011), when she came across a memorable image of the award-winning show horse Snowman, saved from a slaughterhouse. An avid equestrian herself, she is no stranger to the world of horses. The deep and detailed research involved in writing nonfiction is a key skill set. Elizabeth is a master at discovering and researching a rich historical record and transforming it into a page turner. As a fiction writer, she is a magic maker. Elizabeth lives in Southern California and Northern Michigan.
The Eighty-Dollar Champion was an Indie Next Pick, a Goodreads Reader’s Choice Finalist, and winner of the Daniel P Lenehan Award for Media Excellence from the United States Equestrian Foundation. It is currently in development as a feature film at MGM Studios. Her second work of nonfiction, The Perfect Horse, was a New York Times bestseller and the winner of the Pen USA Literary Award for Research Nonfiction. It is available in a young reader edition. Her most recent book, Finding Dorothy, is a Publisher’s Weekly bestseller, a Target Book Club pick, and a Library Reads selection. Its publication in 2019 coincided with the 80th anniversary of the film release of The Wizard of Oz.
About the Novel
Finding Dorothy is the result of Elizabeth Letts’s journey into amazing lives. This historical fiction tells the story of Maud Gage Baum, the wife of L. Frank Baum, creator of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. In dual narratives, the novel follows the filming of the iconic movie adaptation in 1938 while it ranges over Maud's girlhood, her relationship with her mother (the famous suffragist Matilda Joslyn Gage), and her married life with Frank. Widowed Maud, at age 77, works her way on to the Hollywood film set to make sure the movie stays true to the spirit of Frank's Dorothy. When she gets there, Maud realizes she needs to look out for the young Judy Garland, who reminds her of that other young girl, the real Dorothy, who also needed protection. From Judy Garland's opening notes of "Over the Rainbow," Maud recognizes the yearning that defined her own life story. Written as fiction but based closely on the truth, Elizabeth Letts’s new book tells a story of inspiration and perseverance, set in America’s heartland.
As with all great historical fiction, the allure of Finding Dorothy is the curiosity it inspires. Readers will find themselves wanting to know more, wondering what is fact and what is Letts's imagination. In this case, Letts has brought an unknown woman to life in an engaging and thorough novel. From the New York Times
Links to Author Video, Review, and Research
Publishers Weekly Review -- "Elizabeth Letts Finds the Wizard Beyond Oz"
HISTORICAL NOTE: The Gage home, built in 1854, was a stop on the Underground Railroad, often housed Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton as guests, and is now a museum.
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