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by Betty Jo Tucker

Weaving a tapestry of passion and heartache, author Karen Riehl reveals the truth about her long-standing love affair with an Oscar-winning actor in LOVE AND MADNESS: My Private Years with George C. Scott. Her riveting story emerges as a cautionary tale for women everywhere, and she pulls no punches about the dangers of becoming involved with a married man, famous or not.

This is a spellbinding read. Whether describing her fascination with Scott or the ways he disappointed her, Riehl wields candor and humor like weapons in the battle of the sexes. "That sounded like a line from a movie," she writes about many of the romantic things Scott says to her. "He's a great guy . .  . but I sure wouldn't want to be a woman in love with him," one friend warns her.            

Unfortunately, warnings from friends didn't faze young Karen Truesdell. She fell in love with Scott the moment she saw him in a theater at Stephens College. He was a staff actor there -- she a wannabe actress studying drama. "He walked so close by me I could feel the air move as he passed," Riehl explains. "I need to be near him, touch him, if only for a second. I never felt this way before."

Their affair began at Stephens, then blossomed in New York City where Karen found work in a dental office while Scott looked for  acting jobs. Did Scott plan to leave his wife for Karen? She thought so. Or, more likely, she hoped so. After becoming pregnant and refusing to undergo an abortion, Karen developed serious concerns about Scott's alcoholic mood changes. His Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde personality frightened her. This aspect of his behavior continued throughout their long relationship (which also continued intermittently through Scott's other marriages to actresses Colleen Dewhurst and Trish Van Devere as well through Karen's later marriages) and ultimately destroyed it.  

Knowing how the story ends fails to diminish the suspense in LOVE AND MADNESS.  With every chapter, the author manages to hold the reader's interest in finding out how Karen will deal with her obsession, what she'll do next, and whether or not she'll ever learn how to be happy without Scott. Karen's brief interactions with such stars as Ali McGraw and Jack Lemmon are also intriguing, especially for movie addicts like me. However, this book should appeal to more readers than those who are avid celebrity watchers or fans of George C. Scott.  Because of its universal theme and the author's exceptional storytelling talent, not many people will want to put LOVE AND MADNESS down once they start reading it.   

(LOVE AND MADNESS: My Private Years with George C. Scott -- ISBN 1-59025-019-2 -- is a September 2003 release from SANDS Publishing, LLC. For more information, visit the website at         

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