Review: The Show Girl by Nicola Harrison

I had high expectations for this one. I loved the cover and I thought the premise of the story sounded promising not to mention I love historical fiction with romance so I thought this one would be one of my favorite reads of the summer. While I liked it, I don’t know that it lived up to me high expectations but I did like it and was glad I read it.

The 1920s are not necessarily my favorite time period in historical fiction but I liked the glamour that the time period brought to the story plus I liked how the author used that in this story. I will get into some more of that in my actual review but as for what attracted me to this one, I think the glamour of the cover and glamour of the description was what drew me in and made me say yes to this on.

I know that the 1920s are a big fan favorite in the historical fiction world so I think if you love the 1920s then no doubt you will love this book and not be able to get enough, but for me I had a hard time with some of the characters which is typically how I feel in general about books set in the 1920s. Now don’t get me wrong I love the fashion and glamour but it’s something about the party life style that I just can’t get behind.


It’s 1927 when Olive McCormick moves from Minneapolis to New York City determined to become a star in the Ziegfeld Follies. Extremely talented as a singer and dancer, it takes every bit of perseverance to finally make it on stage. And once she does, all the glamour and excitement is everything she imagined and more–even worth all the sacrifices she has had to make along the way.

Then she meets Archie Carmichael. Handsome, wealthy–the only man she’s ever met who seems to accept her modern ways–her independent nature and passion for success. But once she accepts his proposal of marriage he starts to change his tune, and Olive must decide if she is willing to reveal a devastating secret and sacrifice the life she loves for the man she loves. (summary from Goodreads)


So let’s get this out of the way now—I rated this one 3 stars. I would have rated it higher if I liked Olive more. I wanted to love her but I just couldn’t connect with her. She didn’t elicit any sympathy from me. She was selfish and her choices and lifestyle just weren’t my cup of tea. I wanted to like her but I just couldn’t connect to her and I struggled with this book simple for her. I felt like I tried to sympathize with her and justify her choices but I just couldn’t. She simply wasn’t for me. That begs the question, why did I give it a 3 star review if I didn’t like her at all?

Well, I did enjoy the historic detail and I thought the book did wrap up nicely even if it was a tab convenient, it did feel complete and satisfying. I read Harrison’s other book, Montauk (which I thought was a stronger novel), and I think she has a true talent for historical details and capturing the feel of the decade or setting but in this book it was purely that I didn’t like the main character. The romance was good and I enjoyed it I just felt frustrated with Olive. I loved how Olive and Archie’s romance was displayed and explored through the constraints of the time period and for that she did a great job. I just think that Olive could have been less selfish and self indulgent.

Overall this wasn’t a bad book and I think that fans of historical fiction will like it and I thought it was an ok follow up to Montauk, but I think that it could have been stronger and Olive could have been a better main character. The glamour of the period and the historical details were great and I liked it for that reason. Will I still read books by Harrison? Yes of course! Just because one book doesn’t stand up to another doesn’t mean I won’t read more by said author—in this case it has less to do with the writing and more to do with the main character.

Book Info and Rating

Format400 pages, Hardcover

Published August 10, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

ISBN9781250200150 (ISBN10: 1250200156)

Free review copy provided by publisher, St Martin’s Press, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

Rating: 3 stars

Genre: historical fiction


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