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Monday, July 24, 2017

Eve Ellin

The Virgin's Progress was described by T. Werner Laurie as "A sprightly first novel". It's author, Eve Ellin was unknown and, to my knowledge, remains unknown. She wrote only two novels and then disappeared.

For such a best-seller—Virgin's Progress went through four editions by the time Ellin's second novel appeared—there were surprisingly few reviews; I've yet to find one in the UK (although the number of historical newspapers I have access to is, of course, limited) and only one, brief, review of the American edition, which was published in 1933 by Macaulay under the title Synthetic Virgin.
A   serio-comic satire upon the ways and wiles that are Hollywood, with   stop-over blasts at the nobility, the world of means, the medical profession, the great god publicity and a dozen or more second-string gods, this brash, headlong impudence gets a lot of needed panning accomplished in a reasonably short evening. Maybe you'll see it as something quite different. If you do, shame on you.— W. R. W.
Ellin's second novel, Good-bye Hell!, was "Written with all the impudent wit and vivacity of her first novel." In this instance I've found a couple of reviews which will give you a flavour of what they're about, plus some hints about her previous title.
The cover of this book ("published at the author's request at 3s 6d instead of the usual 7s 6d") affirms that it is "an absorbing tale which cannot fail to entrance Miss Ellin's numerous reader," whose first novel, "Virgin's Progress," has been a big seller, we are told. Well, this production concerns no virgin, but an illegitimate half French-half English girl who, at fifteen, became an artist's mistress, and who, a year later, was accepted as a "star" girl in the Maison Blanche of Paris. Having said good-bye to those two hells, she entered a third posing as a widow among the Best People (save the mark) on the Riviera. Thereafter, a man who learns her sad, sordid story prevents her return to the notorious Maison Blanche by taking her to be—his wedded wife! The story does not inform us whether this arrangement made for her final good-bye to hell. But what there is of the story is enough of its kind. (Aberdeen Press & Courier, 5 February 1934)

"Virgin's Progress," a first novel, has been a continuous and big seller from the day of its publication and shows no sign of waning popularity. Here is a second novel from the same pen written with all the impudent wit and vivacity of her first book. It concerns Annie Marie, who had lived in poverty with her pretty young French mother; and after her death became a little milliner's girl, and to escape that hell offered herself to the Maison Blanche when she was sixteen. The story has wonderful colour pictures of the Riviera and Marie's rise to fame and fortune make a most absorbing tale which cannot fail to entrance Miss Ellin's numerous admirers. (Sevenoaks Chronicle, 9 February 1934)
Eve Ellin then disappeared from sight. Perhaps her two novels proved too controversial for her publisher. The National Revenue Review, published by the Minister of National Revenue of Canada, noted in its January 1932 and March 1934 issues that, under the provisions of Section 13 and Item 1201, Schedule " C " of The Customs Tariff, both The Virgin's Progress and Good-bye Hell were prohibited from importation into Canada.

Who Eve Ellin was I have no idea. Unfortunately, none of her books were registered in the U.S. for copyright, which is often a useful source for books dating back to the 1930s.

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