Ava Gardner by Peter Evans
The Secret Conversations

70%

6 Critic Reviews

What's most fascinating in this book are the glimpses of a star in emotional peril...
-WSJ online

Synopsis

The wickedly candid New York Times bestesller that Ava Gardner dared not publish during her lifetime—“the heartbreaking memoir of the ultimate heartbreaker” (Philadelphia Inquirer).

Ava Gardner was one of Hollywood’s biggest and brightest stars during the 1940s and ’50s, an Oscar-nominated leading lady who co-starred with Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, and Humphrey Bogart, among others. But this riveting account of her storied life, including her marriage to Frank Sinatra, and career had to wait for publication until after her death—because Gardner feared it was too revealing.

“I either write the book or sell the jewels,” Gardner told coauthor Peter Evans, “and I’m kinda sentimental about the jewels.” The legendary actress serves up plenty of gems in these pages, reflecting with delicious humor and cutting wit on a life that took her from rural North Carolina to the heights of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Tell-all stories abound, especially when Gardner divulges on her three husbands: Mickey Rooney, a serial cheater so notorious that even his mother warned Gardner about him; bandleader Artie Shaw, whom Ava calls “a dominating son of a bitch…always putting me down;” and Frank Sinatra (“We were fighting all the time. Fighting and boozing. It was madness. But he was good in the feathers”).

“Her story is a raw-nerved revelation. . . . A vivid portrait” (Chicago Tribune). Witty, penetrating, unique in its voice, it is impossible to put down—“A complete delight” (Philadelphia Inquirer).
 

About Peter Evans

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Peter Evans was a columnist and foreign correspondent with the Daily Express (UK), and wrote for the Los Angeles Times and Vogue, as well as every major newspaper in Britain. His books include Peter Sellers: The Man Behind the Mask and Nemesis. He died in 2012.Ava Gardner was born in Grabtown, North Carolina, in 1922. Her films include The Killers, Showboat, Mogambo, The Barefoot Contessa, The Sun Also Rises, and On the Beach. She died in London in 1990.
 
Published July 2, 2013 by Simon & Schuster. 305 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jul 21 2013
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Ava Gardner
All: 6 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Above average
on Apr 28 2013

...reading it feels somewhat like going through a person’s bureau drawers when she’s not home. Juicy, but it leaves a nasty aftertaste.

Read Full Review of Ava Gardner: The Secret Conve... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Apr 22 2013

Gardner is funny and frank, and Evans’s diligence makes the book not only one of the more revealing celebrity autobiographies published recently, but a candid glimpse into the world of a ghostwriter, star handler, and late-night confidante.

Read Full Review of Ava Gardner: The Secret Conve... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by Scott Eyman on Jul 05 2013

What's most fascinating in this book are the glimpses of a star in emotional peril...

Read Full Review of Ava Gardner: The Secret Conve... | See more reviews from WSJ online

NPR

Below average
Reviewed by Bob Mondello on Jul 02 2013

Evans' prose tends more toward the blunt and his approach more toward the tabloid.

Read Full Review of Ava Gardner: The Secret Conve... | See more reviews from NPR

Washington Times

Above average
Reviewed by Sandra McElwaine on Jul 25 2013

Most of the conversations for the book were conducted late at night when Miss Gardner was well into the bottle and unable sleep. For readers seeking Hollywood nostalgia, there is no stardust here.

Read Full Review of Ava Gardner: The Secret Conve... | See more reviews from Washington Times

Toronto Star

Good
Reviewed by Robert Collison on Aug 23 2013

...this book, Ava Gardner, The Private Conversations, brings her roaring back to life. Often books are described as page-turners but this one really is — it’s almost painful to put down because it is so funny and sad, beautiful and bittersweet.

Read Full Review of Ava Gardner: The Secret Conve... | See more reviews from Toronto Star

Reader Rating for Ava Gardner
67%

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