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The Hollywood Daughter
Cover of The Hollywood Daughter
The Hollywood Daughter
A Novel
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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker and A Touch of Stardust, comes a Hollywood coming-of-age novel, in which Ingrid Bergman's affair with Roberto Rossellini forces her biggest...
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker and A Touch of Stardust, comes a Hollywood coming-of-age novel, in which Ingrid Bergman's affair with Roberto Rossellini forces her biggest...
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  • From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker and A Touch of Stardust, comes a Hollywood coming-of-age novel, in which Ingrid Bergman's affair with Roberto Rossellini forces her biggest fan to reconsider everything she was raised to believe

    In 1950, Ingrid Bergman—already a major star after movies like Casablanca and Joan of Arc—has a baby out of wedlock with her Italian lover, film director Roberto Rossellini. Previously held up as an icon of purity, Bergman's fall shocked her legions of American fans.
        Growing up in Hollywood, Jessica Malloy watches as her PR executive father helps make Ingrid a star at Selznick Studio. Over years of fleeting interactions with the actress, Jesse comes to idolize Ingrid, who she considered not only the epitome of elegance and integrity, but also the picture-perfect mother, an area where her own difficult mom falls short.
        In a heated era of McCarthyism and extreme censorship, Ingrid's affair sets off an international scandal that robs seventeen-year-old Jesse of her childhood hero. When the stress placed on Jesse's father begins to reveal hidden truths about the Malloy family, Jesse's eyes are opened to the complex realities of life—and love.
         Beautifully written and deeply moving, The Hollywood Daughter is an intimate novel of self-discovery that evokes a Hollywood sparkling with glamour and vivid drama.

Excerpts-

  • From the cover Chapter One

    New York, 1959

    "Dropped something.”

    A neighbor from upstairs, the man with the sandy-­haired crew cut, was emptying the mailbox next to mine. He pointed downward to a cream-­colored envelope skittering toward the heating grate.

    “Thanks.” I scooped the envelope up and scanned it; no return address. It hardly registered; I was holding tight to another envelope, the one from Better Homes and Gardens. So maybe they wanted that hasty piece I sent them on a new kind of doll named Barbie? It wasn’t one of the stories I labored over at night—­this one might actually have a chance of selling. One more glance at the fancy piece of mail, which probably announced the wedding of a classmate whom, after five years, I would only vaguely remember.

    The man with the crew cut was closing up his box and turning toward the elevator. He looked about my age, somewhere in his late twenties. “Good day for you?” I asked impulsively.

    His eyes widened. “Uh, yeah,” he mumbled. When the elevator door opened, he all but jumped inside.

    I truly knew better: you didn’t ask questions of strangers in New York. Of course, everybody remained a stranger, but no one seemed to find that a problem.

    I started up the stairs to my apartment. For me, it hadn’t been so good a day. Too much time now at Newsweek. I had managed a promotion to the copy desk, but it was a boring job. It paid the bills, so I stuck with it and wrote stories at night, shipping them off to various magazines. If nothing happened there, maybe the editor’s position I had applied for would come through. Today? Well, somebody else got it—­a copy boy just out of college. So, yes, I was more tired than usual. I began counting the steps, a favored way of diverting myself from wondering why I was drifting. It wasn’t working tonight.

    I stopped on the landing and stared into the mirror hung to perk up the light on the stairs. Checking myself out. Blue angora sweater set and single-­strand pearls, long brown hair curled under in a careful pageboy—­I looked like every other eager female marking time until marriage. One of the copy editors had told me I was a “good-­looking dame” this morning. A compliment, I guess. But, standing there at the landing, I wondered just exactly what had happened to the girl who left Bennington College five years ago.

    Well, I wasn’t a virgin anymore.

    The usual smells of the second floor greeted me, especially the pungent but comforting aroma of garlic and onions from the apartment next to mine. I didn’t know the people living there, but I heard them laughing and sometimes shouting at each other, and I imagined them sitting around a kitchen table covered in red-­checked oilcloth, eating some delectable lasagna, while I was out here in the hall, inhaling the musty smell of the threadbare carpet mixed with a faint whiff of fresh dog urine.

    Oh, please. Annoyed at my self-­pity, I jiggled open the lock with its ancient key and stepped inside the apartment, which felt gloomier tonight than the stairwell. It was pouring outside, the rain coming down in exuberant, gurgling rivers over the windows, probably because the gutters hadn’t been cleaned in years.

    I dumped the mail on the coffee table, staring at the letter that mattered. Would I feel worse when I found out what was inside? I picked it up and slit it open smoothly with one pass of my fingernail. The article about the Barbie doll fell out.

    “Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 6, 2017
    Alcott, who has written before about Old Hollywood (A Touch of Stardust), returns with this affecting coming-of-age novel. Jessica Malloy is the daughter of a devoutly Catholic mother and a father who works as a PR executive with Selznick Pictures. His job involves selling Ingrid Bergman to the American public, which puts his career on the fast track until she has an affair and a child out of wedlock. Jessica idolizes Bergman, adores her father, but cannot connect with her cold and often-fragile mother. Alcott effectively uses Bergman’s 1950 fall from grace, seen through Jessica’s eyes, to illustrate the Catholic Church’s influence on the era’s culture, McCarthyism, and the constraints of women’s roles. This narrative alternates with 1959, in which Jessica, now a standoffish New York copywriter pigeonholed by her gender, she receives a mysterious invitation to attend the Academy Awards ceremony. The author draws in readers from the start with smooth writing. Her storytelling skillfully taps into Jessica’s black-and-white adolescent worldview and the distance she maintains from others as an adult, making both real—and surprisingly emotional. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM Partners.

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A Novel
Kate Alcott
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