For that first heady decade of the 20th century, Evelyn Nesbit was the American Dream Girl whose “face was her fortune” and whose life reflected the era’s intoxicating, accelerated, and daring mood. By age 16, Nesbit, already an icon for the Gilded Age, embodied all its contradictory impulses; at times she seemed the picture of Victorian sentimentality, but her bewitching Mona Lisa smile promised something forbidden.
She was “the American Eve” who proved too much of a temptation for famed architect Stanford White, shot to death in the “New Garden” he had created at Madison Square by Nesbit’s demented millionaire husband, Harry K. Thaw. The star witness in the first sensational “trial of the century,” Nesbit was cast forever as “the girl in the red velvet swing.” Tragically, almost as quickly as her star rose, America’s first super model, sex-goddess, and bona-fide celebrity fell victim to the very culture that created and consumed her.
I started this book on a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon and had devoured every last sentence by Wednesday. Written with the perfect mix of true crime and biography, I couldn’t put the bloody thing down. Sex, fashion, glamour, madness, mayhem and mystery course through this tale like a locomotive and I found myself missing Evelyn long after I finished the afterword and put her back on my bookshelf. A trip back in time that left me dazzled. It gave me a whole new perspective on the history of pop culture and the roles men and women play. I will never look at New York City quite the same way again.
click here to purchase AMERICAN EVE by Paula Uruburu