Tuesday, February 23, 2021


Rita Hayworth feeling bookish
WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To
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1. What are you currently reading? If This Was Happiness by Barbara Leaming. "Men go to bed with Gilda but they wake up with me." That was movie star Rita Hayworth's rueful observation about being trapped by her sexpot ("Gilda") image. In the 1940s, magazines literally referred to her as "The Love Goddess." How does a girl with little self-esteem, even less education, and no training as an actress live up to international fame and the pressure to be a seductress?
She doesn't. 
This is a glamorous, but terribly sad, story. The title came from her second husband, Orson Welles. When told she referred to their failed relationship as the happiest time of her life, he responded: "If this was happiness, imagine what the rest of her life had been!"

I like this author's style. I've read several of her other biographies and she's serious and respectful. There's a lot of sex in this book, but Barbara Leaming is not salacious in the retelling, which I appreciate. Also, since she'd already written a biography of  Welles, she's familiar with the terrain.
2. What did you recently finish reading? The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie. Pretty and imaginative, Anne Beddingfield has led a sheltered and rather sad life up until now. So when she finds herself the witness to a sudden death in the London Underground, she convinces herself that she has not seen a horror but instead an opportunity. When Scotland Yard declares the death an accident and not a homicide, she sets off to solve the mystery herself. Soon she's onboard an international ocean liner, involved with diamond smuggling against a background of political revolution.

You thought the plot of Murder on the Orient Express was complicated? Well, buckle up. This short book is filled with so much action in so many locations -- London, the Riviera, Johannesburg, a deserted island, a luxury liner and more than one train -- and has so many characters that it's easy to get turned around. 
Yet I'm proud to say I figured it out (though one warm and engaging character I thought was involved wasn't; shame on my cynical nature). As you read, strip away the extraneous and you'll be able to unmask the villain right along with Anne.
3. What will read next?  I don't know ...

1 comment:

  1. I have enjoyed other books by Barbara Learning, so I am eager to read this one.

    Enjoy your week, and here's MY WWW POST