Finding Mrs. Ford
Finding Mrs. Ford author Deborah Goodrich Royce.
By Megan McKinney
Our must-read book of 2020, Finding Mrs. Ford—the one book to have waiting at your side for the arrival of the great blizzard that will surely arrive this winter—has already become a favorite of many Chicagoans. When its author, Deborah Goodrich Royce, was here in December, Cindy Galvin hosted a luncheon in her honor, as part of a week-long celebration of the 10th anniversary of Cindy’s marvelous Winnetka shop, MAZE Home.
Cindy Galvin and Deborah Goodrich Royce at the luncheon in Deborah’s honor.
This “review” of our Blizzard Book 2020 could be titled Finding Ms. Goodrich, because one of the most striking characteristics of Deborah Goodrich Royce’s debut novel is the twists and turns surrounding the life of its protagonist. The same is true of its author.
Deborah Goodrich is or has been an actress, film story editor, author, preservationist, philanthropist, wife, mother of two lovely daughters and a grandmother.
There would be no point in even hinting about the switches and turnarounds in the life of Deborah’s heroine Susan Ford, because once the reader becomes entirely smug about knowing the real Mrs. Ford—and this is well into the turbulent plot–suddenly, dramatically, everything changes.
Fair warning: The prospective reader requires an authentic blizzard raging outside the door or a believable case of influenza in order to take this book on, because it definitely necessitates a long day in bed or lounging beside a snowy window before considering the opening of its cover. One reviewer referred to Finding Mrs. Ford as “. . . the sort of thriller that wants to be devoured in one sitting.” Trust us, this is true. Once opened, you will not be able to put it down.
It’s also true that almost anything more we might reveal about this delicious novel would be a spoiler. Therefore, we will move on to Deborah herself, who began her string of fascinating “lives” as a television actress.
Deborah Goodrich as Silver Kane.
Remember Silver Kane in the ABC soap opera All My Children? She was little sister of the ubiquitous Erica Kane, of whom everyone knew, whether they watched TV or not.
Here’s Deborah as a 1983 Soap Opera Digest cover girl.
Then there was the film actress Deborah Goodrich:
She was Belinda Watson in Remote Control . . .
. . . Nikki Beshears in April Fool’s Day . . .
. . . and a girl named Deborah in Just One of the Guys.
More fan magazine coverage.
There were other films in which she acted and more television; however, by the early ’90 s, Deborah tired of the profession and it was time to move on to her next life. But she didn’t have to move far to become a story editor for Miramax Films. Among the properties on which she worked at Miramax were Emma, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, and Hugh Grant’s delightful The Englishman Who Went up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain.
Hugh Grant in his breakout role.
Following an extended hiatus in Paris—where she was a reader for StudioCanal—her first marriage ended.
The next life opened with her marriage to investor Charles Royce and homes in Stamford, Connecticut, Watch Hill, Rhode Island, and Palm Beach, Florida.
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Royce.
In 2004, the couple restored the 1939 Stamford landmark Avon Theatre, launching a not-for-profit venture, where they have screened independent, classic, foreign, and documentary films. The theatre also hosts visiting film directors, actors and writers. Robert Altman, Peter Bogdanavich, Jane Fonda, Chloë Sevigny, Emma Roberts and Richard Gere are among those who have come to the Avon to show their films and discuss their work.
Deborah and Chuck Royce have also restored several fine hotels, including the exquisite Ocean House in Watch Hill.
Deborah’s current life as novelist is scheduled to continue at least into 2021, with the publication of her second novel, Ruby Falls. This is what those who were assembled by Cindy Galvin learned on the day of her luncheon for Deborah.
Ruby Falls begins in1968, at Ruby Falls, the underground waterfall within Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, where a little girl is visiting with her father.
Suddenly, the lights go out, the child’s father drops her hand…and the story jumps 20 years ahead. Soon, you will find yourself in a very sophisticated big girl’s Italy of the 1980s and unable to close the book for many hours to come.
Ruby Falls has all the makings of another best-selling thriller, with many of the flash-backs and twists that characterize Finding Mrs. Ford. But that is next year. Today, if you do not already own Finding Mrs. Ford, run out to Barnes & Noble or The Book Cellar—and pray for snow.
Cover Photo of Cindy Galvin:
Portrait of Deborah Goodrich Royce: