The Loveliest Woman in America: A Tragic Actress, Her Lost Diaries, and Her Granddaughter's Search for Home

Bibi Gaston, Author . Morrow $26.95 (339p) ISBN 978-0-06-085770-7

The life of Rosamond Pinchot Gaston has the makings of a great story. In 1926, the 20-year-old debutante was headed home from France when a Broadway producer on the ship discovered her and launched her acting career. But the same year, Rosamond also fled fame and wealth to toil at a cannery in California. “She planned to force herself to survive without her family, her name, her past, or her bank account.” By 1927 she had returned to the stage, though her continued stardom didn't bring happiness: Rosamond committed suicide in 1938. Bibi Gaston, Rosamond's granddaughter, learned about the star only when she received a box containing Rosamond's diaries and scrapbooks. But the author fails to draw us into Rosamond's story. Gaston writes in summary rather than scenes and gives an incomplete sense of Rosamond's character: Rosamond's diaries don't always explain her motivations, such as why she took her “hiatus” in California. Gaston also writes about her own life and how learning about her grandmother's dramatic life affected her, but the memoir aspect of the book is a distraction from the juicy part of the story. 50 b&w photos. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/07/2008
Release date: 06/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 352 pages - 978-0-06-156969-2
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-156966-1
Paperback - 339 pages - 978-0-06-085771-4
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-187125-2
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-156970-8
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