Her name was Rosamond Pinchot: hailed as "The Loveliest Woman in America," she was a niece of Pennsylvania governor Gifford Pinchot; cousin to Edie Sedgwick; half sister of Mary Pinchot Meyer, JFK's lover; friend to Eleanor Roosevelt and Elizabeth Arden. At nineteen she was discovered aboard a cruise ship, at twenty-three she married the playboy scion of a political Boston family, but by thirty-three she was dead by her own hand.
Seventy years later, her granddaughter, a noted landscape architect, received Rosamond's diaries and embarked on a search to discover the real Rosamond Pinchot.
Unearthing what appeared to be a glamorous fairy-tale existence, Bibi Gaston discovers the roots of the ties that bind and break a family, and uncovers the legacy of two great American dynasties torn apart by her grandmother's untimely death. This is a tale of three lives and five generations, mothers and grandmothers, longing, holding on and letting go, men, beauty, diets, and letting beauty slip. This is the story of how we make the most of our brief, beautiful lives.
About the Author
Bibi Gaston, a practicing landscape architect, has kept a diary since the age of eight.
Bibi Gaston’s hard-to-put down narrative mixes a Harvard Business School Case Study of American upper-class family dysfunction and tragedy, with entertainment history, with the most significant ingredient of all -- the healing of the scars on her own heart. The whole business is a miracle.
— Tappan Wilder, Literary Executor
“….Uncovers a family history long obscured by secrets and lies…functions well as a window into a largely vanished social and cultural structure. Heartfelt and accomplished…”
— Kirkus Reviews
The discovery of her grandmother’s diaries has taken Gaston on a journey not only of family and home but also of celebrity, politics, death, betrayal, and, eventually, understanding and hope.
— Library Journal
A story for all women who strive and struggle to lead meaningful and purposeful lives.... the author weaves her grandmother Rosamond Pinchot’s connection to nature... through the generations of a family whose legacy of service to the environment are the DNA of today’s conservation efforts.”
— Sara Cedar Miller, Central Park Historian and Park Photographer
...a fascinating memoir of an American family from a famous actress and beauty in the early 20th century to her granddaughter....a captivating story of 2 women and the man they share-son to one and father to the other. Bibi’s voyage of discovery will enlighten and uplift you
— Ron McLarty, Author of THE MEMORY OF RUNNING and TRAVELER
…a fascinating memoir... Her writing is deft and sure. …. poetic, wry, humorous and, above all, spoken with the voice of truth and compassion. With “The Loveliest Woman in America,” she gives readers the topography of the heart of a family, and in it we find pieces of ourselves.”
— Bangor Daily News
One of the more intriguing footnotes in American theatrical lore has always been the mysterious suicide ... of Rosamond Pinchot during the tryout of Thornton Wilder’s ‘Our Town’....Who was she? What were the circumstances of her death? ....A beautifully written saga worthy of Edith Wharton’s ‘House of Mirth.’
— John Guare, playwright Six Degrees of Separation
...a granddaughter’s search through familial silence for the grandmother, a beautiful and troubled actress, who committed suicide... leaving two young sons and a powerful mystery....wonderfully structured... a compelling story with characters of such life and particularity, they jump off the page. . . .A real page turner
— Susan Shreve, author of A STUDENT OF LIVING THINGS and WARM SPRINGS
“…a Dreiserian treatise on the corrosive use uses of money and class in America and how self-destructive patterns of behavior are often handed down in families…Bibi Gaston does a remarkable job piecing together this dramatic family history….”
— Washington Post