Vivian in Red
Milo Short made his name in the 1930s as a young Broadway lyricist favorably compared with Cole Porter. At the age of 88, he no longer heads his production company, but still goes to the office every day. Then, on a steamy summer afternoon, he sees a woman who had disappeared from his life 60 years before, wearing her trademark red lipstick, and looking as impossibly young as the day that they parted. Seeing Vivian again is so shocking that Milo suffers a stroke which robs him of speech and writing.
Though Milo’s granddaughter Eleanor is going through a heartrending breakup, she proceeds with her grandfather’s biography, thinking that the stimulation will help Milo recover. His aphasia prevents him from helping, so Eleanor turns to his memorabilia, hoping to discover why Milo would never discuss his biggest hit, “Love Me, I Guess,” or why he and his longtime collaborator, Bernie Allen, broke up. Eleanor learns of Vivian, but if she was merely Milo’s office assistant, why are lyrics to his famous song written in Vivian’s hand? In the meanwhile, Vivian keeps appearing to Milo, telling him, “I just want to be heard.”
Kristina Riggle’s Vivian in Red is a tangled love story spanning generations, and a multifaceted mystery which keeps you guessing until the final pages. Theater lovers will relish this story’s atmosphere, but it’s an enjoyable read for all.