A fictional take on the relationship between Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra is supported by just enough research to keep you glued to every page of Heather Webb’s Strangers in the Night. Her fiery passion, his dark secrets, and old Hollywood in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s are gorgeous, tortured, and unforgettable.
Told through dual points of view–his and hers–the novel relates Gardner and Sinatra’s relationship from their very first meeting when she was married to Mickey Mantle–all the way until her death from cancer in 1990. They were complicated, jealous, extremely talented people who didn’t know how to heal the broken places in themselves enough to be any good to each other. But, as Webb renders it, they were devoted to each other all their lives.
Frank left his first wife, a good Italian Catholic girl, for Gardner, and chaos ensued, but the new marriage didn’t last long. The truly incredible part of the book lies in the way Gardner and Sinatra kept returning to each other over and over again throughout their lives, even when they were long divorced and married to other people.
Strangers in the Night is a thrilling and dark look into one of Hollywood’s most famous scandalous love stories and a kick to read.