Occasionally, I like to break away from the monotony of historical fiction. I couldn’t be happier than when I was looking through biographies and found the sultry gaze of Vivien Leigh looking back at me. Naturally, I found my next selection. Upon looking through, I was pleased as punch to find images of her strewn throughout the pages. One can forget that Vivien portrayed some of the most fascinating women in literature upon the silver screens and simply be struck by the woman herself. With that gaze and a face that shows a thousand emotions, the graceful way she moved and her almost musical voice, Vivien Leigh is certainly a legend and is a reminder of the years where Hollywood women were classy and sophisticated. They were known for their talent and their looks…not for who has a sex tape or not. Of course, some might say that she was more infamous for her marriage to Sir Laurence Olivier. Truly though, Vivien was her own woman. A multi-layered, complicated, hard-working woman who was famed for her beauty and her talent.
This book is wonderful as it begins with the author expressing a warm memory of Vivien and looking at a gift Vivien gave her. Instantly, there is a connection made betwixt the author and reader. The book covers everything. From her beginnings in Darjeeling, India to the very end of her (too short) life. Vivien L’s career brought her high and low and everywhere inbetween. It truly is a fascinating roller coaster and one can’t help but feel that they know the enigmatic actress a little better. Perhaps it is the mystique of Vivien that there shall always be somewhat of a mystery to us.
Regardless, what she left us was a critically acclaimed film and theatre theatre career. She left us Cleopatra and Anna Karenina, Blanche du Bois and of course, Scarlett O’Hara. There were more films and even more theatre roles. She always endeavored to do her best and despite that, critics were oft hard on her. It was only after her death did they see what a diamond she was in a world full of pearls. Death does that. It makes us see things differently that we did before. Critics are kinder, awards more forthcoming…things you would endeavor in life but are often denied.
This is definitely a book I recommend. I give it a 4 out of 5. I hope you’ll enjoy this and I hope you’ll sound off in comments to let me know what you thought of it.