cover image Ava Gardner: Love Is Nothing

Ava Gardner: Love Is Nothing

Lee Server. St. Martin's Press, $29.95 (551pp) ISBN 978-0-312-31209-1

At the ripe old age of 32, having collected three ex-husbands-Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra-Ava Gardner waxed introspective: ""I still believe the most important thing in life is to be loved."" Server's (Baby, I Don't Care) deliciously entertaining tome bursts with Hollywood dish and Oscar-worthy dialogue and is written in a crackling style that reads like great pulp. ""Love became her terrible habit,"" he writes, ""something hopeless to resist, impossible to get right."" A Tobacco Road urchin turned ""statue of Venus sprung to succulent life,"" Gardner ditched her secretarial aspirations and started at MGM in the early '40s as a contract actress earning $50 a week. She became an international star, drawing huge crowds on both sides of the Atlantic. But life wasn't always sweet for the gorgeous star of Show Boat and The Barefoot Contessa; her steamy affair and marriage to Sinatra ranks among the most notorious of Hollywood love stories. Gardner's career, hard drinking and screen-worthy love affairs are all chronicled in Server's page-turner prose, doing justice to one of cinema's most beautiful faces.