One City One Book announces this year's selection

Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey’s first novel, “A Woman of Independent Means,” which became a bestseller when it was published in 1978 and has subsequently been turned into a stage play as well as a TV mini-series, has been selected as this year’s community read by the La Cañada Flintridge One City One Book Committee.

Local residents are encouraged to read the book over the coming months, then take part in a related public event that will take place in the fall.

The novel’s central character, Bess Steed Garner, through letters she has penned, takes the reader through her life in the early half of the 20th century.

“A friend and I saw a one-woman production of ‘A Woman of Independent Means’ at the Fremont Center Theater in South Pasadena. We both had read the book, loved the play and thought it would make a good One City One Book selection,” said Kay Bahrami, a member of the La Cañada committee. “The author was at the performance and we talked with her. The epistolary style was an added bonus as the committee had never selected a novel before composed completely of letters.”

Hailey will take part in a program scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, at the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge, 4469 Chevy Chase Drive. The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin with Lissa Laying Reynolds performing part of her one-woman show based on the book. Following that, local author Mark Salzman will converse with Hailey. Afterward, there will be an opportunity to have the book signed by the author.

Copies of “A Woman of Independent Means” can be found at the La Cañada public library and at local bookstores.


CAROL CORMACI is the managing editor. Email her at

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