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Publisher's Summary

Rita Hayworth was the epitome of 1940s glamour. A legendary "Love Goddess", she was a huge box-office star, and her sultry beauty and sensational figure made her into one of Hollywood's greatest sex-symbols: a pin-up so incendiary that GIs pasted it on to the first atom bomb ever detonated.

Yet behind the smoldering image lay a tragic secret that wrecked her private life. A pathologically shy child, she was thrust at an early age into a sordid limelight as her vaudevillian father's dancing partner, and suffered sexual and physical abuse at his hands. A desperate need for protection led her into five marriages, including nuptials with Orson Welles and Prince Aly Khan. All of them resulted in exploitation and disaster, as did affairs with some of the world's most glamorous men.

©1989 Barbara Leaming (P)1996 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Hayworth fans will learn much from this biography by the author of Orson Welles. The surprising story of the acutely shy Margarita Carmen Cansino, who was dubbed the 'Love Goddess', contains more melodrama than most romance novels." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about If This Was Happiness

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Good book as far as learning more about Rita Hayworth, but the story dragged a lot and the performance wasn't attention grabbing

6 people found this helpful

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Sad but true

I found this biography well written. The facts of Rita Hayworth's life are public knowledge.
Her life is described with truth and compassion. I enjoyed it even though the outcome is inevitable.

5 people found this helpful

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  • BN
  • 10-02-20

What a fascinating book about a fascinating person


I am so glad I read this book. Of course I knew of Rita Hayworth but I didn’t know ABOUT Rita Hayworth. I did not know what went into making the fascinating presence on the screen and the human being. I did not know what led to the discrepancies between the two. In reading this book your heart breaks for her and celebrates her all at the same time. She is sometimes an absolute angel and sometimes she does things that people don’t understand. In this book you will learn the reasons why. We get to see a glimpse into a real human being who dealt with many things. Do yourself a favor if you don’t know much about Rita Hayworth, read this book. Do yourself a favor if you want to delve into the humanity that is all of us, read this book. It paints a human portrait of a complex public person. And aren’t we all human and complex at the same time. But for screen stars of this era life was lived on such a large and public scale. What we thought we knew turned out to not always be true. There were stories behind the headlines and they are fascinating. Rita Hayworth is fascinating and this book is fascinating. Also loved the narration. Anna Fields did a perfect job!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting but not fascinating

The book was interesting but it didn't hold my attention. Anna Fields sounds like she is talking into a can most of the time and her lift at the end of most sentences is awful. Why end a sentence in a question form. The book did however make me review the internet for information on the Princess and Becky Welles. So, curiousity was built to some extent.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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One of the saddest stories I’ve ever read ...

Rita’s woeful saga makes Marilyn Monroe’s life seem like a carefree day at the beach.

3 people found this helpful

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Beautifully written

Reads like a true fairy tale. Very well written and mostly accurate. I have read several books of that era and there are obvious minor inaccuracies of trying to make Rita look like a victim. She may have had husbands who spent her hard earned money but there was one husband who did not need her money. Not only was he Royalty and classy he was kind and treated Rebecca like his own. Rita often went away after bringing the 2 girls to Europe and the Prince took care of both the girls but the author hardly gives him any credit for that. Instead the water claims he too spent her money. That, to me sounds impossible. Still - a great book!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

In-depth study

much better than the usual hollywood biography.

6 people found this helpful

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Great read but very sad.

If you are looking for a happy-go-lucky story with a happy ending, this is not the book for you. It was a very interesting read, though. I liked how the author explained Rita's psychological reasons for doing things, due to things that had happened in her life.

1 person found this helpful

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highly recommended book about life & times of rita

excellent narrator. enhanced story which was very compelling and interesting. recommend it. she had a tough life!

1 person found this helpful

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This Wasn't Happiness!

I couldn't wait for this story to end, and it ended abruptly. It's a sad tale of a beautiful, talented woman everyone loved. Her personal life was a disaster. The constant negative information was too much and too often. The book should have been 3/4 hours shorter. The author continuously repeated things excessively. The title while cute gives little clue to Rita's life. If you loved Rita and loved her and her talents, pass on this one. I found it hard to believe the lady in the movies had so many personal problems. She had serious separation anxiety, lacked self esteem and lacked trust in men.

The narrator has a nice voice but her cadence is lacking. At times she needs to take a breath.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dina Karoomi
  • 04-01-21

intriguing

Good listen to an interesting life and how badly she was treated by those who were supposed to have loved her most

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Honest H
  • 09-27-15

Thoroughly depressing book no insight & badly performed

Thoroughly depressing book, no real insight, cliched & badly performed . I'm surprised I got as far as I did with it.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Mrs L..J Hines
  • Mrs L..J Hines
  • 09-21-21

Sad but True

For all her beauty and success you couldn’t want the life she had. I don’t think she ever escaped from her start in life. Uneducated, unprotected and abused, what a desperate situation. The story is told very well and I liked the analysis parts too. Thankfully she had a few good friends and her youngest daughter at the end of her life. I shall look at her in her movies with a rather different view of how she got there.

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Profile Image for Cathy D
  • Cathy D
  • 09-19-21

The Woman Behind The Love Goddess

In Leaming's sensitive and excellently written autobiography we learn about the woman behind the myth of the Love Goddess. It seems Rita Hayworth was not lucky at all in love and despite her fame and fortune, craved security and love. It explains how she was expolited by husbands and the Hollywood system and how she yearned to be free of the Hollywood circus and out of the grasps of Jack Cohen.