Miss del Río: A Novel of Dolores del Río, the First Major Latina Star in Hollywood

Graydon House. Oct. 2022. 400p. ISBN 9781525899935. pap. $17.99. F
Internationally best-selling novelist Mujica (Frida) has written a vivid story about the life of one exceptional woman, against the backdrops of wealth, fame, and pivotal moments in history. Based on the life of legendary movie star Dolores del Río (1904–83), Mujica’s richly detailed biographical novel transports readers through an eventful swath of history, starting with the 1910 Mexican Revolution, encompassing the Roaring Twenties, early Hollywood, the Great Depression, and World War II. Told from the point of view of Mara, a fictionalized lifelong friend of del Río’s, this novel chronicles the actress’s extraordinary life, including her numerous lovers and marriages, and it features real-life icons such as Frida Kahlo, Orson Welles, and Marlene Dietrich. As a trailblazer for Latin American actresses in Hollywood, Mexican-born del Río contends with being exoticized and discriminated against despite her bona fide success. In response to the growing nativism in the post-war United States, she returns to Mexico and becomes a celebrated icon of the golden age of Mexican cinema.
VERDICT For fans of women-centered historical fiction, especially the works of Marie Benedict and Paula McLain. Readers who are interested in Hollywood history will also be intrigued.
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