A society girl–cum–torch singer’s entertaining but overly sentimentalized memoir about the years she spent living with and loving America’s first billionaire, J. Paul Getty.
Gaston met oil tycoon Getty at a New York nightclub in 1935. From the first moment they danced, the otherwise independent young singer felt like “[she] wanted to belong to this man [she] knew nothing about.” Getty, a four-time divorcé and patron of the arts, wooed the much-younger Gaston with ardor and encouraged her to pursue a career in opera. He invited her to Europe, where he put her in contact with legendary vocal teachers like Blanche Marchesi and introduced her to a glamorous world of elegance, royalty and artistic refinement that went beyond anything she had known in New York. Getty married Gaston in Rome on the eve of World War II and demanded she break off her studies to return home with him. Gaston remained in Italy to finish her studies, only to become a prisoner of war. She endured hardship and privation for more than two years but also experienced passionate love with a handsome Turk. When Gaston returned to the States in 1942, it was to an increasingly stingy husband who now spent most of his time working, traveling and having affairs that he denied. The couple moved to California, where Gaston gave birth to a son, who died before reaching his teen years. The child brought the drifting partners together only briefly before Getty abandoned his family to pursue the wealth and power that became his governing obsession. Sweeping in scope, the book, which draws throughout from Gaston’s and Getty’s letters and diaries, offers a glimpse into a privileged world where all that glittered was far from being gold.
An epic personal saga for the Harlequin Romance crowd.