Carlotta Monterey is best known for her stormy marriage to the playwright Eugene O’Neill. But she had a twenty-year career in the theater before she married O’Neill, during which she was counted among the most beautiful women in the world. Beginning in 1888, her early life and her marriages—to a Scottish aristocrat, to the son of her mother’s lover in Oakland, California, and to the famous artist and illustrator, Ralph Barton—took her from the Old West to Edwardian London and aristocratic English country life, to the Broadway theater and the tough reality of the actor’s life on the road, and to bohemian Greenwich Village and Manhattan’s arty Smart Set in the 1920s. This novel chronicles the seemingly endless ways she reinvented herself to meet the challenges of her fascinating life.
Brenda Murphy is the author of more than twenty books. Most recently, she has been writing biography, memoir, and biographical fiction. Her latest books include Becoming Carlotta: A Biographical Novel (2018), based on the life of the actress Carlotta Monterey, Eugene O’Neill Remembered (2017), a biography in documents, and After the Voyage: An Irish American Story (2016), historical fiction based on the experience of her immigrant family in the Boston area from 1870 until the 1930s. Brenda and her husband live near the University of Connecticut, where she taught for many years. Both are avid fans of the UConn Women’s basketball team.