A candid and engaging account of the 1970s from the first black Miss World.




A debut memoir recounts how a black woman’s unprecedented win in the Miss World competition resulted in stardom.

Hosten went into the 1970 Miss World contest feeling unexpectedly confident. A flight attendant who had recently been named Miss Grenada—a competition she had only entered after being scouted by the Grenada Tourist Board—the author saw the whole affair as an adventure. She was proud to represent her tiny island nation alongside the 57 other contestants at London’s Royal Albert Hall vying for the Miss World title—though she knew that a woman of color had never been chosen. Hosten and the others were not expecting the feminist protesters who greeted their bus with banners and placards: “ ‘We Are Not Ugly, We’re Angry,’ ‘You Poor Cows,’ ‘Miss World, Man’s World.’ Some of them pounded with clenched fists on the sides of the bus. Others were pushing hard, trying to shake the coach. At one point, they all started singing, ‘We Shall Overcome.’ ” Halfway through the show, protesters in the crowd began shouting down the jokes of the host, comedian Bob Hope, blowing whistles and pelting the stage with flour bombs, among other items. Despite the uproar, the moment that really made history was the judges’ decision to crown Hosten as Miss World. It turned out that the night was just the beginning of a decade that would include USO tours of Vietnam, a revolution in her homeland, and the author’s meteoric rise, as she became an icon of black womanhood around the world. Hosten tells her story in simple and lucid prose, recalling the weirdness of her immediate fame: “I was very suddenly a celebrity….A freelance photographer who was a friend of mine obtained from my parents a photograph of me as a small baby. He asked to borrow it and promptly sold the photograph to the newspapers without my permission or knowledge.” The book is not quite riveting, though there are delightful moments sprinkled throughout. The author largely resists analyzing the conflicting movements of the period, but her tale is an intriguing look at the intersection of race, gender, business, and politics from a unique perspective.

A candid and engaging account of the 1970s from the first black Miss World.

Pub Date: March 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-989555-23-1

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Sutherland House

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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


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

Did you like this book?