The Loveliest Woman in America [NOOK Book]

Overview

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 ...

See more details below
The Loveliest Woman in America

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.49
BN.com price

Overview

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.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061871252
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 376,386
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Bibi Gaston, a practicing landscape architect, has kept a diary since the age of eight.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

The Loveliest Woman in America

Chapter One

The Miracle

For forty-three years, all I knew was that Rosamond was beautiful and that she had killed herself. I may have spent the rest of my life knowing just those two things and everything would have gone on the way things do. After all, who really needs to dredge up something you can't do anything about? But in the summer of 2003, I went back to the Forester's Pool in Pennsylvania where I had distributed my father's ashes in the waters where he had learned to fish and swim with his mother, Rosamond. That day, I was given a plain cardboard box containing a thousand pages of Rosamond's diaries that people thought had vanished. For seventy years, her diaries and scrapbooks languished in airplane hangars, flooding basements, and dusty closets. They disappeared into the dark corners of a family's pain. Retrieved from darkness, the diaries changed my life forever. Through them, I learned a good part of Rosamond's story and found a home in the words of my grandmother.

Like a bird sighted in the forest that everyone thought was extinct, Rosamond's scrapbooks and diaries just showed up. When I started digging around, her obituary also showed up. It told of her death at thirty-three, on the front page of the New York Times, above the fold. I could have placed everything on a shelf or in a closet for another seventy years and that might have been the end of it, but the artifacts were suddenly taking up a lot of room. I was confounded by the series of events that brought them to me, so, smitten by circumstance, I found myself piecing together Rosamond's brief but beautiful story. While discoveringher life, I came to know the members of two remarkable families, the Pinchots of Pennsylvania, a family I never knew was mine, and the Gastons of Massachusetts, who Rosamond said were “not good for the blossoming of the soul.” I came to understand how Rosamond, the woman who had been called the loveliest in America, and my father, the enigma to end all enigmas, and I, a woman who had yet to find a place to call home, had each inherited the extremes of everything a family has to offer.

Rosamond. When I first heard it, her name made me think of all the roses in the world. Not just the cultivated hybrids that require a gardener or the finicky tea roses you see in all their perfumed perfection at a flower show, but the rambling floribunda and the rugosas that flourish where nothing else will, those wild shrub roses that flood our days and nights with scent and blossoms that fade all too quickly. She'd never had time to fade with the rest of us. Her name spoke of warmth and light and summer. When I see her name, I think of what we ourselves become when we are willing to love not just what is beautiful, but what is not always easy to love, what is wild, sometimes dangerous and rare.

I'd always been inquisitive, some say intrepid, so when I received the diaries, it was as if I'd discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls or excavated the underground passage to a secret golden room. There wasn't one thing about my family that didn't warrant a serious investigation. I was always searching for clues. After hearing at about five years old that Rosamond was beautiful and that she had killed herself, beauty and death went together, which said a lot about what might happen to a girl. Forty years later, I had grown up and I'd learned to separate beauty and death. I had also learned that Rosamond had wrung a lot of living out of thirty-three years. Much of it had been documented by her, except that the last four years of her diaries were missing. That seemed peculiar, of course. But what I found even more strange was that for some reason the diaries and scrapbooks were all handed to me.

The scrapbooks weren't small and colorful flipbooks people leave around the house so friends can take a peek at the kids; they were huge and heavy, embossed with her name, Rosamond Pinchot Gaston, in gold leaf across forest green covers. The letters are faded now, but through the scrapbooks, I came to know Rosamond like a character in a silent movie. The visuals were spectacular but the silence was deafening. The images struck me not only as beautiful but also as strikingly modern. Rosamond in what looks to be Chanel, Rosamond in overalls. Her look was timeless. They show her in silhouette against the Manhattan skyline, under Hollywood's fabulous houses of skylights, fishing in the streams of Pennsylvania, and walking her dog on the Upper East Side as though it was yesterday. Her look was always changing. She could be Marilyn Monroe, an Olympic athlete, or Mata Hari; and in the 1920s and 1930s, New York had just as many faces. The city was vibrant and pulsating, and Rosamond's life straddled one of its more exuberant periods, the Jazz Age. Not only was she a celebrity, she was also a remarkable sportswoman and equestrian. She lived a scintillating social life and could identify each tree in the forest. She had legions of suitors who wanted to “make” her; she ran around New York City's reservoir to stay slim; she dined with the likes of Dorothy Parker, Sinclair Lewis, and George Gershwin. Her scrapbooks and diaries described a woman of many sides. She knew fashion, politics, and birdcall. She was simple and sophisticated. She could't be packaged or contained.

So why had no one in my family ever talked about her or shared even a single detail of her life? It wasn't as if we lived in the old world where the bodies of suicides were buried at night at the crossroads where it was thought that greater traffic would keep the corpses down. Rosamond seemed to have slipped off the edge of the world. There are a thousand ways of vanishing; a family's silence is one of them.

The Loveliest Woman in America. Copyright © by Bibi Gaston. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 13, 2009

    Don't bother!!!

    The first page is a real grabber and then...down hill from there. If I had found my grandmother's "lost diaries" I too would think it a real treasure. However, taking something that was interesting to me and thinking it would be even mildly interesting to someone else is the mark of a true narcissist.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)