Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Guest Book Review: Lady Be Good

By Melissa Smoot

Lady Be Good transports us to the glittering, sumptuous era of 1920s New York to follow the life of aspiring actress Dorothy Hale as she comes of age. Breaking societal rules imposed on women, "Peck's Bad Girl of Pittsburgh Society" leaves behind her privileged world for the bright lights of Broadway to chase her dream. From convent school debutante runaway to Ziegfeld showgirl to Hollywood star, Hale transforms herself into one of the most adored figures in the highest echelons of society. Yet behind the public façade the darling of the press contends with heart-rending loss, gossip and betrayal, and a tempestuous friendship with Luce.

Surrounded by her fabulous circle of friends-Gertrude Stein, Fred Astaire, Cole Porter, James Roosevelt, Elsa Maxwell, and other iconic figures-Dorothy finds her way to the other side of heartbreak and prepares for a White House wedding. Then, suddenly, at age thirty-three, at the height of happiness and peak of her fame, she falls to her death. Her life story is revised and written into history by the tabloids and the famed and fêted-leading to this novel's stunning conclusion. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

I can easily say that this has been one of my favorite books that I have read this year. I have always been fascinated with anything relating to the “Roaring Twenties”, and this story is no exception. The author, Pamela Hamilton, is a former NBC Producer and gives us a glimpse into the ups and downs of Dorothy Hale’s life. From her romantic relationships to her often-turbulent friendship with Clare Boothe Luce and glamorous parties with Fred Astaire and Cole Porter, this story had me hooked from the beginning. 

While Dorothy’s story was certainly filled with pain and heartache, Hamilton portrays her as a woman with great inner strength and resilience. Dorothy lived a very full life in her thirty-three years, but even the glitz and fame of being a beloved Hollywood actress, nor her upcoming White House wedding could spare her from an untimely death. The book flowed seamlessly and I felt I got to peek into each new version of Dorothy as she aged throughout the story.

I absolutely adored this book and found myself wanting to look further into who Dorothy Hale really was. I still think about her often and wonder what really happened to her. I am not normally a huge historical fiction fan, but I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a great read.

Thanks to Pamela Hamilton for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Melissa Smoot became an avid reader as a small child, growing up in Chicago. The first book she remembers reading (and loving) was Mandy by Julie Andrews. She has since become a lover of Women’s fiction as well as mystery and suspense and everything in between. Melissa graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in American Indian Law and is also pursuing an M.L.S degree from the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law at Arizona State, with a focus on Tribal Law and Corporate Compliance. In her spare time, she likes to read, do jigsaw puzzles, go for long early morning walks, spend time with family and friends, and try new places around town. She works in finance and currently lives in Scottsdale with her Jack Russell Terrier, Dolly.

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