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Cover image for A woman of independent means
A woman of independent means
Publication Information:
New York : Viking Press, 1978.
Physical Description:
256 pages ; 25 cm
Beginning in the early years of the 20th century, Bess Stead Garner sets out to conquer high society Dallas and protect her family.


Call Number
Hailey, E.
Hailey, E.

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At the turn of the century, a time when women had few choices, Bess Steed Garner inherits a legacy--not only of wealth but of determination and desire, making her truly a woman of independent means. From the early 1900s through the 1960s, we accompany Bess as she endures life's trials and triumphs with unfailing courage and indomitable spirit: the sacrifices love sometimes requires of the heart, the flaws and rewards of marriage, the often-tested bond between mother and child, and the will to defy a society that demands conformity.

Reviews 2

Kirkus Review

A short way into this portrait of a Texas-bred lady--the book consists of her letters sent East or abroad from childhood to old age--one is immediately intrigued by what seems to be a satiric underbuzz. Lovely little Bess writes her husband-to-be in the first missive, in 1899, that she has seen to it that both will be on the same fourth:grade spelling team--all of which forecasts Bess' outsize talent for the management of other people's lives. Bess' prose style is serenely gracious, faintly violet-scented, but it becomes obvious that when problems are to be coped with, she can move quick as a newt: to establish, for example, an elderly relative in a nursing home, complete with furniture; to save her husband's business; or to speed a friend's marital separation. But as Bess' years pass--in tragedy (the death of her first husband and young son) and in love (three American courtiers and one exotic passion en passant in Italy)--one realizes that Bess is both bombazine and lace, and her tucked and gussied-up pensÉes flutter like standards. A delightful reading of large, splashy doings in the small pond of an endearingly lively, bossy, responsible, and much-loving lady. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal Review

Chronicles the life of Bess Steed Garner from 1899 to 1968 through a series of correspondences. Letters to her family and friends reveal not only her spirit and strength but also her controlling and, at times, insensitive nature. Although born into social privilege, Bess faces much adversity, struggling with the untimely deaths of her husband and son, near business ruin, and a devastating house fire. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.