Review: Seducing Ingrid Bergman

April 16, 2014 1940's, book review, Hashtags, historical fiction, Hollywood 0

Written By:  Chris Greenhalgh

Published By:  St Martins Press, March 18, 2014

Length:  272 Pages

Source:  Publisher, group read with #Hashtags,  in exchange for an honest review

The beautiful Casablanca star, the world’s greatest war photographer, and the secret love affair that would change their lives forever . . . in Chris Greenhalgh’s Seducing Ingrid Bergman

June 1945. When Ingrid Bergman walks into the lobby of the Ritz hotel in Paris, war photographer Robert Capa is enchanted. From the moment he slips a mischievous invitation to dinner under her door, the two find themselves helplessly attracted. Played out against the cafés and nightclubs of post-war Paris and the parties and studios of Hollywood, they pursue an intense and increasingly reckless affair.But the light-hearted Capa, who likes nothing more than to spend his mornings reading in the tub and his afternoons at the racetrack, is not all that he seems. And Ingrid offers the promise of salvation to a man haunted by the horrors of war, his father’s suicide, and the death of a former lover for which he blames himself. Addicted to risk, Capa must wrestle his devils, including gambling and drink, and resist an impulse to go off and photograph yet another war. Meanwhile, Ingrid, trapped in a passionless marriage and with a seven-year-old daughter to bring up, must court scandal and risk compromising her Hollywood career and saintly reputation if their love is to survive. With their happiness and identities at stake, both Capa and Ingrid are presented with terrible choices.(Goodreads)

My Thoughts:
Looking at this cover alone takes me back to old Hollywood, when stars where bigger than life.  I’m a huge old movie fan, a passion my father passed down to me.  He was a man who was always moving, but given a rainy Saturday or Sunday we would look on the few TV channels we had and find old movies.  He would tell me about where he was when he first saw a movie, the theater, his age, the other short films etc they would show in the theaters.  Given my love of the post WWII era Seducing Ingrid Bergman seemed a book made for me. 

I was immediately swept into the rather risque and passionate life that Ingrid was able to hide and enjoy.  There is much to be said for the lack of immediate news as was the norm in the 1940’s.  Ingrid fell in love with a man who was not one for settling down.  Their love affair was rocky.  I was sad for both of them. I wanted Capa to have a better handle on his demons.  Alcohol and gambling were his drugs, and they both pushed him to his breaking point.  Ingrid was in a bad marriage.

These two people have both had their lives documented and dramatized by many.  This novel is a brilliant look into what might have been happening to them.  The dialogue and emotions both ring true for the times and what is known about their affair.  One of my favorite parts is while Ingrid is filming Notorious directed by Alfred Hitchcock.  She has Capa hired as a photographer, and he is very visible to those on the set.  Pick up this book to learn how Hitchcock took their story and made another movie.  

Highly recommend this book if you enjoy stories of the golden age of Hollywood, the steamy untold stories of love and passion. This is historical fiction that reads like a peek into a love story.   Thank you again to St. Martin’s Press for this advance copy.  

You can find about more about the author here

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