Elsa Emerson was born in Door County, Wisconsin, the third daughter in a family of performers. Her father owned and operated the local theater company and from an early age, Elsa enjoyed being in front of an audience. After a tragedy at home, she decides to marry quickly and she and her husband move to Hollywood where they embark on acting careers. Motherhood sidelines Elsa temporarily, but when she divorces her husband, attaches herself to Irving Green, the manager of a production company (and soon to be second husband), and changes her name to Laura Lamont, it is like she has reinvented herself. Laura is soon a movie star and she enjoys her fame and the lifestyle it offers.
Straub's novel encompasses nearly all of Laura Lamont's life - from her childhood in Wisconsin, her years as a rising star, her most productive years in film, and her eventual decline as she ages and is no longer sought after. Straub's arc of Lamont's life is a typical one in Hollywood, and I enjoyed the story she created. Although I originally thought this book was one similar to The Paris Wife or Loving Frank - which are both fictionalized accounts of a person close to someone famous- Laura Lamont is entirely a work of fiction. That did not detract from my enjoyment at all, and I found myself trying to sneek in some reading in any free moment.