Almost Famous Women: Stories
Perfect for Mother’s Day, this unlikely collection of nearly famous women is very interesting, amusing, and sometimes heartbreaking. Author Bergman writes of the very rich Joe Carstairs, her private island, and her affair with Marlene Dietrich. The other nearly famous include Beryl Markham, Dolly Wilde, Norma Millay, and Lucia Joyce. Many of these stories are about women who are closely related to the famous and thus have a measure of fame themselves. The story that truly resonated with me is the tragic tale of Lord Byron’s enigmatic four-year-old daughter, Allegra. Her mother, Claire Clairmont, was a stepsister of Mary Shelley and daughter of William Godwin. Claire had a thing for poets, and her affair with Byron led to Allegra’s birth. Seemingly unwanted by anyone, little Allegra was shuttled between families and nursemaids and ultimately was placed in an Italian convent when she was four years old. Allegra wrote a plea to her famous father, but soon died of typhus or malaria. The other women featured in this book are just as interesting and it is very good reading indeed.
Megan Mayhew Bergman