In 1931 Charlie Chaplin’s new film, City Lights – defiantly silent in the age of talkies – was an immediate and international hit. The actress who played the romantic lead had never been on screen or stage before but Chaplin’s film turned her into the most famous girl in the world.
Virginia Cherrill was the beautiful daughter of an impoverished Illinois rancher, who ran away from home to live through some of Hollywood’s wildest years. She was the adoring first wife who broke Cary Grant’s heart when she left him; and who turned down the gloriously eligible Maharajah of Jaipur to befriend his wife and rescue her from purdah. During the thirties, as the Countess of Jersey, she presided over one of England’s great houses. Everybody sought her friendship and all that eluded her was love. When she found it, she gave up all she had to marry a handsome and penniless Polish flying ace, whose dream it was to become a cowboy.
In this glorious and undiscovered story of Hollywood, international high society, wartime drama and romance, Miranda Seymour recaptures the personality of a woman so vividly enchanting that none could resist her. Breathtakingly romantic and exquisitely written, this is the story of the poor girl who won everything – and gave up all for love.