The enchanting story of a Midwestern girl who escapes a family tragedy
and is remade as a movie star during Hollywood’s golden age
In 1920, Elsa Emerson, the youngest and blondest of three sisters, is
born in idyllic Door County, Wisconsin. Her family owns the Cherry County
Playhouse, and more than anything, Elsa relishes appearing onstage, where she
soaks up the approval of her father and the embrace of the audience. But when
tragedy strikes her family, her acting becomes more than a child’s game of
While still in her teens, Elsa marries and flees to Los Angeles. There
she is discovered by Irving Green, one of the most powerful executives in
Hollywood, who refashions her as a serious, exotic brunette and renames her
Laura Lamont. Irving becomes Laura’s great love; she becomes an Academy Award–winning
actress—and a genuine movie star. Laura experiences all the glamour and
extravagance of the heady pinnacle of stardom in the studio-system era, but
ultimately her story is a timeless one of a woman trying to balance career,
family, and personal happiness, all while remaining true to herself.
richly imagined, Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures is as intimate—and as
bigger-than-life—as the great films of the golden age of Hollywood. Written
with warmth and verve, it confirms Emma Straub’s reputation as one of the most
exciting new talents in fiction.
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