Thursday, January 23, 2020

"The Wrong Girl"

The Wrong Girl is the introduction to a fresh new series starring Bianca LaBelle, star of the silent screen action serial, The Adventures of Bianca Dangereuse. In addition to this coming-of-age tale of a girl in the glamorous 1920s, Donis Casey is also the author of the Alafair Tucker Mysteries, an award-winning series featuring the sleuthing mother of ten children, set in Oklahoma during the booming 1910s. Her first mystery, The Old Buzzard Had It Coming, was named an Oklahoma Centennial Book. Casey is a former teacher, academic librarian, and entrepreneur.

She applied the Page 69 Test to The Wrong Girl and reported the following:
From page 69:
At home, Blanche had hated cotton harvest time, when her mother and aunts had put all the females in the family to work, either cooking for or serving bushels of food to the gangs of itinerant workers. But her situation was desperate and the offer of unglamorous but honest work on the very day she was abandoned in the wilderness was too perfectly timed to refuse. Besides, how could she pass up the possibility of reaching her destination safely while under the protection of someone who did not mean to pimp her out at the nearest mining camp?

“Miz Gilbert,” she said, “I’ve already peeled enough potatoes to feed the entire state of Arizona. I reckon I’m an expert at it. I’d be obliged for the opportunity. Anything to make some money, as long as it’s honest.”

Mrs. Gilbert’s gave a satisfied nod. “Good. I think you won’t be peeling potatoes long. Miss Bolding is soft on lost puppies and mistreated little girls.”

“Miss Bolding?” Blanche said. Blanche only knew of one person named Bolding—Alma Bolding, star of the silver screen. But Alma Bolding lived in Hollywood in a lavish mansion, not in a cabin in the woods in Arizona.

“Yes, darling, Alma Bolding, the moving picture actress...” Mrs. Gilbert hesitated at the expression of gobsmacked awe on Blanche’s face. “...and tomorrow we are going to go out to the location of her next picture to ready the tent where she will put on her costumes and makeup and rest between takes. I will talk to the head cook and ask if he will hire you to assist him in the kitchen. Now, Miss Bolding arrives on the train tomorrow afternoon, and while you are working, I will go to meet her in Prescott and bring her to the set. I will introduce you after you finish work. Miss Bolding is, let us say, larger than life, but don’t make a fool of yourself when you meet her. She enjoys meeting her fans, but she hasn’t much patience with children.”

Blanche was so astounded that her prospective benefactor was actually screen star Alma Bolding that she forgot to be insulted that Mrs. Gilbert had just called her a child.
I was delighted to see that page 69 of The Wrong Girl illustrates an important turning point in the life of our heroine, 15 year old Blanche Tucker, eighth of ten children in a farming family from Muskogee County, Oklahoma. The year is 1920, the world is changing after the horrors of World War I and the great flu pandemic. Blanche is bored, bored, bored with her proper, protected life and eager for the excitement and glamor she reads about in movie magazines. So when a dashing young man in a fancy auto comes to town and tells her he can put her in the movies if she'll run away with him, Blanche doesn't think twice. But Graham Peyton has unsavory plans for her that don't involve the motion pictures. To avoid a grim fate, Blanche has to make a daring escape in northern Arizona, where she comes upon a house in the woods and meets a kind woman named Mrs. Gilbert, who offers her a job peeling potatoes and completely changes Blanche's destiny.
Visit Donis Casey's website.

--Marshal Zeringue