November 12th at 8:00 PM
Reading from The Courtship of Eva Eldridge
Simmons will be joined at The Shed by performance artist Chris Vinsonhaler who will provide a soundtrack of songs from Eva’s life.
To learn more about Diane Simmons click here
Everyone got married in the 1950s, then moved to the suburbs to have the children of the soon-to-be-famous baby boom. For Americans who had survived the Great Depression and World War II, prosperous married life was a triumph. The unwed were objects of pity, scorn, even suspicion. And so in the 1950s, Eva Eldridge, no longer so young and marginally employed, was the perfect target for handsome Vick, who promised everything: storybook romance, marital respectability, and the lively social life she loved. When he disappeared not long after their honeymoon, she was devastated.
Drawing on a trove of some eight hundred letters and papers, Diane Simmons tells the story of Eva’s poignant struggle to get her dream husband back, as well as the stories of the women who had stood at the altar with Vick before and after her. Eva’s remarkable life illuminates women’s struggle for happiness at a time when marriage—and the perfect husband—meant everything.
“In The Courtship of Eva Eldridge, Diane Simmons traces one woman’s story through hundreds of wartime letters and papers, ultimately uncovering postwar America’s rampant bigamy and the women who overcame it.” The New Yorker
“The writing is vivid and tight, with a touch of American noir reminiscent of Raymond Chandler and Joan Didion. Simmons’s writing brings to life the dark side of a country trying to move on in the wake of war. She blends history and her own detective work to tell a story of betrayal and shattered dreams.” — Peter Chilson, author, Disturbance-Loving Species: A Novella and Stories. Winner AWP award for creative non-fiction Riding the Demon Road
Diane Simmons has brilliantly used a collection of never-before-seen World War II letters to tell a story that has all the twists of a true crime novel. At its heart, this is a poignant, extraordinary tale of a woman who married a man with a secret and troubling past. **–Andrew Carroll, editor of the New York Times bestseller, War Letter