Books in Review
by Adrienne Petterson 2004

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Audrey Hepburn - An Elegant Spirit
by Sean Hepburn Ferrer
Atria Books
ISBN 0-671-02478-7
Published October 2003 - Hardcover - 230 pages

The name Audrey Hepburn is synonymous with elfin beauty, delicate features, and graciousness.  Glamor also comes into play.  Probably the biggest misconception about the lovely Ms. Hepburn is her name.  She was actually born Audrey Kathleen Ruston and not Edda Van Heemstra as is commonly believed.  She did use the name Edda Van Heemstra (her mother was Ella Van Heemstra) but it was a decision her mother took for a while to protect her daughter during the war.  Her father later changed his name to Hepburn-Ruston which is how her name came about.  This book is written by her son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, and is a poignant tribute to his beloved mother who, during her life, did not want to pen her own biography.  Dreaming of becoming a prima ballerina, the young Audrey could not live up to that dream so she modelled and then went into acting.  Her thinness, for which she will always be remembered, was because of a very poor diet during the war and her subsequent disciplined eating habits throughout her life.  A fascinating story of a beautiful heart filled with compassion, her own heartbreak, and her association with UNICEF.  Gorgeous photos by some of the world's best photographers, some from family archives, and some so familiar, adorn the pages.  There are also quotes from the likes of Billy Wilder, Cecil Beaton, and Fred Astaire.  I was overcome with emotion recalling how beautiful she was, right until the day she died.  It's no wonder people are still emulating her style today.  Visit the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund at for more information.
Conclusion - A "must-have" for Audrey Hepburn fans and movie buffs.  Simply magnificent.

Review copy not supplied by publisher - library copy reviewed.



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