When white silver screen icon Kitty Karr Tate dies and bequeaths her multimillion-dollar estate to the three Black St. John sisters, it prompts questions. A celebrity in her own right, Elise St. John would rather focus on sorting out Kitty's affairs than deal with the press. But what she discovers in one of Kitty's journals rocks her world. The truth behind Kitty's ascent to stardom from her beginnings in the Jim Crow South threatens to expose a web of family ties, debts owed, and debatable crimes that could, with one pull, unravel the all-American fabric of the St. John sisters and those closest to them.
The results of their choices, made in order to succeed and survive in the Hollywood machine, echo for generations throughout Paul’s meandering yet page-turning narrative. Perhaps more poignant are the brave and strategic choices made by prior generations of women determined to secure better lives for their children with no assurances that those choices would be rewarded.
Appealing if overlong ... Though Paul crowds the narrative with far too many underdeveloped characters and makes a few too many implausible plot leaps, she ably describes Kitty’s transformation and unflinchingly details the racism, misogyny, and exploitation Kitty faced as a young woman.