In her first novel, Straub (Other People We Married, 2011) tells the story of how Elsa Emerson, milked Wisconsin tow-head, becomes brooding and brunette Laura Lamont, celebrated actress. Raised in Door County, a beacon on Midwestern beauty, Elsa flees to Hollywood and is lucky enough to be rechristened as Laura by producer Irving Green. But she can’t help being forever haunted by her idyllic homeland, the family she left behind, and the tragedy that shaped her young life. Straub’s approach is wide-angle. The novels covers a large part of the twentieth century and takes into account most every aspect of Laura’s life–her loves, her family, her career highs and disappointments– and what emerges is a zoomed-out image of fame before the Google search and an obviously painstakingly researched account of Hollywood’s golden era. Recalling a time when reigning studios managed stars’ “privacy” with stories spun, Straub’s deft hand is gentler than any tabloid artist could hope to be, and her addicting portrayal of Laura’s life is one of a complicated woman who cannot fully grasp her own power but transcends her circumstances, nonetheless.
—Annie Bostrom, Booklist
This is very, very nice.
Early reviews are rolling in for Emma Straub’s September novel & it looks like the critics are loving it as much as we do!