... restores her to the pantheon of history with great thoughtfulness and taste. But like a too-tight flapper headband, the title doesn’t quite fit. For one thing, Glyn, a British aristo (who also advised Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino), and Bow, who was from Brooklyn, don’t meet until well into the book’s third section, when both are storming early Hollywood. For another, Glyn’s concept of 'it,' developed during a long career writing transgressive romance novels and having affairs with various lords, featured a powerful middle-aged man, not an on-the-verge ingénue ... Hallett spent a heroic decade-plus wandering and mapping these trails, and though there are moments in Inventing the It Girl that are florid and over-rounded, this tone suits the topic. Her copious endnotes made me want to put on a peignoir, strike my forehead dramatically and fall in a dead faint on a chaise longue — all gestures probably owed to Elinor Glyn.
Exhaustively researched and decked out with 50-odd photos and reproductions, Inventing the It Girl is rich with history--inevitable, given all that Glyn observed and lived through, including the erosion of Victorian social mores, World War I and Hollywood in its infancy. Hallett is utterly persuasive regarding the beneficent influence of Glyn ... Glyn herself may not have had it, but she had something well worth reading about.
... highly readable and deeply researched ... Writing with the right touch of occasional humor, Ms. Hallett gracefully restores Glyn’s dignity, defines her intelligence and tells the full story of her remarkable life. She makes Elinor Glyn matter ... In Glyn, Ms. Hallett uncovers an important story. Calling her 'woman ahead of her times,' the author traces a tale of self-liberation and provides ample historical and social context.