Quick, fun, easy reading for devotees of high fashion and mystery fans, complete with wrong turns and false friends.

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DIVING FOR STARFISH

THE JEWELER, THE ACTRESS, THE HEIRESS, AND ONE OF THE WORLD'S MOST ALLURING PIECES OF JEWELRY

The tale of “one of the most captivating and enduring pieces of jewelry,” which would “crawl into the world of collectors and jewelers to enchant and confound them” for more than eight decades.

When Burns wrote a biography of Millicent Rogers (Searching for Beauty, 2011, etc.), she was especially intrigued by one particular item in her subject’s jewelry collection: a hand-sized starfish that featured “71 cabochon rubies and 241 small amethysts.” Certainly expensive, it was more valuable for its rarity and perfection. Only three were originally made in the 1930s and perhaps two more later. The mystery begins with an exclusive jeweler in Paris, Boivin. There, Juliette Moutard had solid relationships with a variety of designers and workshops that met the demand for beautiful and well-designed pieces. They were so special that they were never signed; the jeweler knew that the pieces’ quality would prove their origin. Burns knew that Rogers had one of the starfish and held it for more than 70 years. Another was said to have been purchased by Claudette Colbert, a movie star well known for her magnificent jewels. Supposedly, she lost hers. As she searched for clues to the location of the starfish, the author discovered the very private world of jewelry sales. It is a business that pays little attention to provenance, unless a famous person, like Elizabeth Taylor, owned a particular piece. Equally tight lipped are the exclusive jewelers—e.g., Siegelson and Verdura—and brokers who are approached with pieces when owners suffer a death, bankruptcy, or divorce and must sell. Getting information from top jewelers is a challenge at best. As the author notes, there are other starfish, some with emeralds and sapphires, but the three originals are the subject of a long and frustrating search.

Quick, fun, easy reading for devotees of high fashion and mystery fans, complete with wrong turns and false friends.

Pub Date: March 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-05620-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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