Actress Anjelica Huston offers a retrospective on her childhood in Ireland, her adolescence in London and her burgeoning model days in New York City in a vivid new memoir, A Story Lately Told. This first installment of a planned two-book set offers a personal look at Anjelica’s early life, in which her parents—the famous director John Huston and ballet dancer and model Ricki Soma—feature prominently. From a young age, Huston watched these wealthy, glamorous people navigate the worlds of art and culture. She paid attention to the eclectic way her mother decorated their family manor in Ireland, to the way her father directed conversation at the dinner table, to the people who drew her parents’ attention.

Though often criticized as a young girl for being directionless and not terribly focused on her studies, Huston proves an excellent student of the people she admires most. She lingers on alluring details, like the story behind the Monet water lily painting that hung in her childhood home and the clothes her mother wore for a night out. “Anjel is pure artist,” her mother wrote to her father when Huston was only a toddler. As Huston grows older and her parents separate and then divorce, she remains keen to the worlds of fashion and film and eager to make her own way. Huston proves a natural in front of a camera. And with seeming effortlessness, she breaks onto the pages of Vogue as a model.

Because of who she was, Huston met brilliant and quirky people. She was given roles in film (first by her father) and plumy modeling gigs. Yet, all these gifts did not necessarily make discovering her true self any easier, nor did they shield her from making damaging mistakes along the way. This book will be of interest to fans of the Huston family and people who love the places where Huston lived. But, perhaps most intriguing of all, is to see the impacts of nature and nurture, how a splendid and varied upbringing replete with stimulating people and bright opportunities enhanced the world of a sensitive young girl who was born, as her mother said, a “pure artist.”

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