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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book - Buy it!
If you know everything about Joan Fontaine or nothing much about her at all, this book is for you. The author draws upon his personal relationship with the actress and what evolves is a very honest viewpoint of a complicated life and career. So, if you're a Joan Fontaine expert you'll learn things you've always wondered about. On the other hand if you know very little...
Published on 12 July 2005 by Michelle

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Return to Sender
From the awkward pun of the title, through his somewhat overwrought introduction (think Gwynnie Paltrow at the Oscars with added emotion) where he thanks all those "who gave me the energy to keep going when I was exhausted" (this book has less than 50 pages of text), to the apparent surprise of "When she found out that I was going to write this book ... she refused to...
Published on 8 Feb 2007 by GoldfishNation


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Return to Sender, 8 Feb 2007
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From the awkward pun of the title, through his somewhat overwrought introduction (think Gwynnie Paltrow at the Oscars with added emotion) where he thanks all those "who gave me the energy to keep going when I was exhausted" (this book has less than 50 pages of text), to the apparent surprise of "When she found out that I was going to write this book ... she refused to speak to me anymore" Mr Garrett is quickly revealed to be something of an over-zealous fan, apparently spurned by his idol, cashing in his fandom, but having absolutely nothing to say. Perhaps 'fan' is too strong a word, as "Letters ..." is ripe with inconsistencies, neither is there any sense of the author having had any kind of significant correspondence with Ms Fontaine whatsoever, other than the twenty or so banal 'thank you' notes he reproduces proudly by way of conclusion (I half expected to see a polite "No milk today, thank you", but you can't have everything). It is in fact the only time he quotes her directly.

None of this would be too disastrous I suppose if this were at least an engaging read, but Mr Garrett is to the written word what Madonna is to acting. His 'style' is all over the place, jumping from one topic to the next, often from sentence to sentence, and back again, which is somewhat bewildering. It's like overhearing the teenage babysitter gossiping ten to the dozen down the phone. Probably to a wrong number. He simply presents tittle-tattle as fact. There is no framework or structure. No sense of chronology. Nor is there any attempt at discussion of Ms Fontaine's film roles, other than to blurt out titles. In this book Joan Fontaine the woman/actress exists only in terms of how she relates (or does not relate) to her equally famous GWTW-starring sister, Olivia, who receives pretty much equal (and equally inadequate) coverage. They didn't get on you know. Hold the front page! Events are endlessly repeated so you have to keep checking you haven't opened the thing at the wrong place. There is nothing that isn't already in the public domain. Joan's entry on Wikipedia is more revelatory.

The remaining two thirds of the book is taken up with photographs of Joan, which were probably once quite lovely. Unfortunately they've been reproduced on the same flimsy paper as the textual portion and the quality is decidedly spotty. A bit like this book in general. To be frank, I'm unsure how it ever came to be published. One can only speculate as to the exact source of some of the glowing reviews it receives here. A tremendously inconsequential read. That's 20 minutes of my life I'll never see back.

One star for the luminous cover shot.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book - Buy it!, 12 July 2005
If you know everything about Joan Fontaine or nothing much about her at all, this book is for you. The author draws upon his personal relationship with the actress and what evolves is a very honest viewpoint of a complicated life and career. So, if you're a Joan Fontaine expert you'll learn things you've always wondered about. On the other hand if you know very little about her the author gives you a basic rundown of her life and career and gets you up to speed before explaining where he entered her life.
The photographs are amazing. Many have never been published until now. A must have for any fan of classic Hollywood films.
Highly recommend!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read about two feuding actresses!, 22 July 2005
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This is a great read for anyone who likes Hollywood gossip or history. The author paints a tragic portrait of Joan Fontaine and her family and their lives. There are many fabulous pictures that really bring the book to life. It is a quick and easy read, good for summer reading on the beach!
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2.0 out of 5 stars repeatition of very few facts, 4 Feb 2014
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I AM A FAN OF THE LATE JOAN FONTAINE AND THE OLD MOVIES AND EAGERLY LOOKED FORWARD TO READING THIS BOOK. THIS BOOK CONTAINED VERY FEW FACTS AND REPEATED THOSE FACTS OFTEN THROUGH THE BOOK. A LOT OF THE BOOK CONTAINS SIGNED PHOTOS AND MOVIE POSTERS WHICH WHERE NICE.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book about Hollywood legend!, 12 July 2005
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K. C. Johanson (USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Letters from a Known Woman: Joan Fontaine (Hardcover)
"Letters from a Known Woman: Joan Fontaine" tells the riveting tale of legendary Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine and turbulent relationship with her sister Olivia DeHavilland, also an actress. Illustrated with nearly 100 photographs from Ms. Fontaine's life and career, this book charts her rise to fame in two Alfred Hitchcock films, "Rebecca," and "Suspicion," the latter of which garnered her an Oscar. The in-depth analysis of the sisters' relationship, characterized by an intense rivalry, makes Mr. Garrett's book a fascinating read and a story worthy of its own glamorous movie. Highly recommended!
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Letters from a Known Woman: Joan Fontaine
Letters from a Known Woman: Joan Fontaine by Tommy Lightfoot Garrett (Hardcover - 1 Jun 2005)
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