Believe it or not, there was a time before TomKat, Bennifer and Brangelina. There was a time when Hollywood’s scandal-clad celebrity couples were forbidden, and not celebrated or indulged.

And if you think Ben Affleck’s relationship hurt his career, meet Nelson Eddy: the first half of a purported love affair-slash-scandal in the 1930s and 40s.

At the time, fraternization in the picture business was prohibited. That never seemed to fully control Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, however.

Sharon Rich’s book, “Sweethearts,” tells their story in amazing detail. It is the product of over 20 years’ worth of work, having used hundreds of interviews and private correspondence. Rich, who was friends with MacDonald’s odler sister, Blossom Rock, has been researching and writing about this show business saga throughout her professional life.

Eddy and MacDonald were a Hollywood Romeo and Juliet, struck by the authorities in their lives trying to repress what was, for them, a natural and overwhelming draw towards each other. They starred in eight films together and the book chronicles their mutual side stories, falling into one staple, branded relationship or another, which never seemed fulfilling.

The book is 558 pages long, and is a rewritten, updated edition of the 1994 best seller. It contains a detailed filmography, actual source material and dozens of new photographs. It’s a curiously interesting and deceivingly quick read. This is a story of “back in the day,” and it’s a tale of class, struggle and true love–a story you’re not likely to find in this generation. If you’re a movie fan or student of Hollywood history, give it a try.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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