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Love Affair Hardcover – January 18, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (January 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312659083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312659080
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.7 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,572,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Stan Kenton's orchestra captured the world's imagination in the late 1940s, just as other swing bands were fading. For the next three decades, he would be the most popular bandleader who played what was, essentially, art music. Unlike Count Basie's band, Kenton's didn't play primarily for dancers. Unlike Woody Herman's, it didn't have an entertaining, singing showman up front. Unlike Duke Ellington's, it didn't have a repertoire of well-known, original popular songs to bring in crowds. Yet Kenton was a master of marketing: He packaged and sold the concepts of newness and modernity to a pop-music audience.

At first his experiments ran parallel to the beboppers, who were likewise introducing a more sophisticated harmonic system into jazz. Along with Dizzy Gillespie, Kenton introduced Afro-Cuban polyrhythms to North America. And where Ellington famously disdained categories, Kenton reveled in creating terms like "artistry in rhythm" and "progressive jazz." His music was at once futuristic, masculine and highly romantic, and his fanatical followers were the jazz equivalent of Trekkies.

Onstage, though, Kenton seemed far from a wild-eyed avant-gardist; his manner was buttoned down and conservative. He never appeared in less than a suit and tie and conducted himself like a combination of college professor and church leader...Certainly bebop legend Art Pepper—a star of several Kenton orchestras who wrote a powerful memoir of his years as a junkie—perceived a world of difference between himself and his employer.

Yet "Love Affair"—a harrowing and intimate memoir by Kenton's daughter, Leslie—now reveals that he and Pepper were more alike than anyone realized. Mr. Sparke mentions that Kenton abused alcohol in later life; Ms. Kenton depicts her father as a lifelong alcoholic and such a troubled soul that you wonder at times how he could hold himself together well enough to keep his band going. Most shockingly, Ms. Kenton asserts that their own relationship was, for a time, incestuous.

Ms. Kenton's book is a fall-and-rise "recovery" memoir in the tradition of Lillian Roth's "I'll Cry Tomorrow" (1954). She worshipped her father in spite of his apparent shortcomings, and they bonded over a shared love of art and music. The tone she takes toward her father is one of forgiveness rather than accusation, and often the book reads like the tale of a taboo liaison (it's worth noting that she titled it "Love Affair," not "Daddy Dearest"). But keep in mind she was only 11 when, she says, he first forced himself on her, and only 13 when they broke the physical "affair" off.

Ms Kenton maintains that she and her father never stopped caring about each other, and she even seems to shield him from blame, claiming he suffered from dissociative identity disorder and portraying him as dominated by his controlling mother. Because Kenton had divorced Leslie's mother, her grandmother played an outsize role in her life as well. At one point, Ms. Kenton charges, her grandmother sent her off to a sanitarium without reason. On another occasion, she pushed her 10-year-old granddaughter to play "dress up" with a pair of creepy cross-dressers backstage at a theater in New York.

Fans of the bandleader, who have long been known for being insular and cultish, will be scandalized by the suggestion that his family life could be so sordid. In particular, they'll be horrified by the idea of Kenton as a victim rather than the one in control. Yet such revelations won't change the quality of the man's music, and in some ways Ms. Kenton's account is the most sympathetic and human portrait of the bandleader yet to be published."--Wall Street Journal 

About the Author

LESLIE KENTON is an award-winning writer, broadcaster and filmmaker who has written more than thirty books on health, beauty and spirituality, many of them bestsellers in the UK. She conceived the Origins product line for Estee Lauder, and was the first chairperson of The Natural Medicine Society in Great Britain. She lives in London and New Zealand.

More About the Author

Do you love the joy of a good thriller that gets your blood pumping and your mind racing? I'm inviting you to join me on the wild adventure that is my novel Ludwig--A Spiritual Thriller. It explores the terrifying realm of the multiple personality that was Beethoven. It exposes conspiracies fashioned hundreds of years ago by men in elitist societies who were intent upon manipulating world events to their own ends and destroying human freedom. They still are to this day. What can I tell you about Beethoven himself? How do I talk about Ludwig who obsessed my own life, demanding that I turn completely away from my own life to tell his tale?

In a peasant's cottage outside Vienna, an old woman presents a man named Michael with a parcel. The parcel contains a manuscript. From the moment he takes possession of it, Michael embarks upon a life-threatening journey. For the manuscript carries the devastating power of the spirit of Ludwig van Beethoven and of the Illuminati, who attempted to use him in the way today's corporate controls attempt to manipulate all of us destroying the planet in the process. At once disturbing, dark, brooding and gripping, Ludwig is a spiritual thriller powerful enough to leave you haunted by its spirit and uplifted by the truths it tells.

Michael is a much-decorated Special Forces leader. He's led actions in Indo-China. He's directed covert operations in Central America for the CIA. A tough idealist, he turned his back on the glamorous world of the American Samurai when he discovered how corrupt the causes to which he had pledged his life had become, and how powerless he was to change things. What he cannot know, until the old woman hands him the manuscript, is that this gift--which he wants nothing to do with--will not let him ignore him. What he does not know yet is that he is about to do battle with a life-changing challenge--a power far greater than any he once faced in the killing fields. The novel takes you back to the final ravaged days of Beethoven's life. We learn that Michael is not alone in being haunted by Ludwig and by the controllers who are attempting direct his life and take over his music.

The first inkling I had that I would become obsessed with Ludwig had come decades earlier in a dream. I dreamed I was standing in the midst of a magnificent garden--like a garden in one of those fabulous Persian miniatures, it was filled with a myriad of flowers and trees covered with blossoms in luminous colors. There was a great pond in the midst of the garden and Beethoven's music was playing. It was nothing of his I had heard before, and yet I knew that it was Beethoven. I stood in the garden enraptured by the colors and the sounds. As the music reached a crescendo, the trees and flowers, fruits and sky became transfigured with light. The hand of God--as in the God of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel--came down from the heavens, its index finger touching the center of the pond, sending ever-increasing circles outwards. It was more than I could bear. I closed my eyes and put my hands over my ears. When, moments later as the music began to descend from its climax, I removed them and opened my eyes, the garden was returning to its previous colors and state. A voice within told me, "It's all right--the next time such beauty comes you will be able to bear its beauty." That was all. The dream had occurred in my mid-twenties. I had no idea what it meant. All I knew was that it was some kind of a blessing. I felt as though something fundamental had shifted in my life because of it.

For many years I forgot about the dream and immersed myself in earning a living, writing books, making films for television and doing all the other things we all do every day, when the responsibilities of a householder sit heavily on our shoulders. Then, many years later, the dream came back to me, and with it a strange imperative from within: You MUST put everything aside to write a novel about Beethoven.

I had never written fiction, not even dared to dream that I could. The thought terrified me. Having raised four children on my own, I had spent a lot of my time earning a living. I began to research the novel, but soon realized there was no way I could write it unless I gave up my work in the media and stopped earning a living during whatever time it would take to write it. Many of us stop ourselves from daring to do what we want to do most with the excuse that the only thing that is stopping us is lack of money. That was my excuse. It was only when I found myself in the position of having enough money to not have to work for four years, that I discovered that it's not a lack of money that stops us, but a deep unwillingness to embrace the absolute freedom of choice we all have.

Until this point, I had been able to see myself as a conscientious and caring mother willing to sacrifice her own desires to earn a living and care for her children. Suddenly I found this was no longer necessary. I had all the material resources I needed to do exactly what I wanted. Just as the beauty in the dream had seemed overwhelming to me, I found this newfound freedom terrifying.

During the years that followed I learned a lot about patience and humility. I learned that I was nothing--I am nothing--can do nothing of myself. Yet out of that nothingness, I experienced new realities being born. During the next five years, so many internal events occurred that it would be impossible to speak of them all.
Many of them went into creating the novel itself. I learned to accept that no matter how irrational all of this seemed to me, or how difficult and lacking in self-belief I felt, I was relentlessly driven by some wild inner passion to finish the book--never knowing from one day to the next if I was capable of doing so.

Then one day the novel was finished. I felt like someone who had come back from the dead--a caterpillar who had wrapped itself within a cocoon and watched while its body was dissolved into a white gel, only to be reformed again into a butterfly. What did I find out from all this? I learned that there is the most incredible unseen order that regulates all our lives. Even when we perceive ourselves to be in total chaos, it is always present, always guiding us. Within such order lies a love and compassion that goes far beyond kindness. It can lead us into new worlds--realms of knowing what is right and necessary from one moment to the next. Ludwig is a gripping story of one man's dramatic struggle with the spirit of what I call the godpower--a struggle to become not just a hero in form but a hero in truth. This was also my own struggle. I believe it is the struggle each one of us faces in our own way. It may be that making a choice to embrace the struggle is what turns us from caterpillars into butterflies.

Please pick up a copy of Ludwig--A Spiritual Thriller. It's available on Amazon in paperback and as an e-book. Do read it. I'd love to hear from you personally about your experience of the book. I'd also love for you to write a review of it on Amazon for me if you will.

Here's some of what the media has said about the book:

"Giddy stuff, well marshalled with a kind of ingenuous passion for ultimates and the welfare of the planet." OBSERVER
Jennifer Selway

Ludwig is a very clever thriller about unseen puppet masters and secret societies not unlike Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum though without all the prosaic mumbo jumbo."
James McHale

"A spiritual thriller where the fiery creative spirit of Beethoven struggles with the forces of material powers. Stirring and compelling...Read relish and enjoy..."
William Horwood

"An intriguing tale of the occult; a modern day CIA agent turned journalist confronts the forces of evil unleashed by 18th century secret societies and embodied in the music of Beethoven. Ludwig is a musically well-informed psycho-spiritual odyssey which combines the world of science fiction with Iris Murdoch in one of her wilder modes. Happy reading!"

"It is an eclectic read, with topics ranging from descriptions of Beethoven's haunting work to illuminati 'men in black' to intrigue and forbidden passion... and beyond! "


"Leslie Kenton is the Dalai Lama of the beauty business...her creed goes like this, 'If you're doing what's right for you, you'll continuously unfold and become more healthy and more beautiful. It's a process not a state."


"A pioneering authority on alternative health and beauty, Leslie Kenton is one of life's natural leaders."

"If there is one health expert who can genuinely be described as pioneering and visionary, it's Leslie Kenton."

"Anything she promises, she fulfils. She does it, lives it and writes it"

"In her chosen field - a super-fertilized literary pasture on healthy eating, rejuvenation and exercise - Ms Kenton reigns supreme"

"She's the source that everyone reads and quotes, a one-woman Wall Street of well being."

"One expects a certain vivid attractiveness from the world's leading expert on health and beauty, but Kenton's inner glow and luminosity are nothing less than stunning."

"She's blond, beautiful and sexy."

"In the glitzy, glamour world of fashion and health, Leslie Kenton is like a breath of fresh air."

"She's The High Priestess of New Age Health and Beauty"

"Leslie is the guru of ageless aging."

"Leslie Kenton is remarkably persuasive. Not only is her writing packed with scientific andmedical references...she knows what she's talking about."

"She's a genuine free spirit...Kenton's message is as non-confronting as her flowing blond hair and cornflower blue eyes."

"Long before the rest of the world began to take an open-minded look at different cultures and alternative therapies, Leslie Kenton was exploring philosophies which would challenge and change the way we eat, think and behave."

"Britain's leading health and beauty expert...Leslie is an advertisement for her own fitness philosophy"

"First she was a prophet crying in the wilderness about all things healthy and organic. Then she was acclaimed as a pioneer. Now she's a revolutionary urging women to build a bridge between bodies and souls. And aways she has star quality."

"Leslie is the enduring high priestess of health and beauty."

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Patti Feuereisen on March 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As an advocate for sex abuse and incest survivors for the past 28 years, and the author of "Invisible Girls: The Truth About Sexual Abuse", I feel compelled to review this book. First let me say that I am sorry for the suffering that Leslie Kenton has endured, and I am pleased for her that she has a career now and is blessed to be a mother. I am also sorry to write a negative review of a book for any incest survivor. But..... This book goes into great detail of brutal rapes, starting at age 10. Also much verbal and even physical abuse at the hands of her father. After the details of the sex abuse and the relationship Ms. Kenton states many of the common symptoms of incest survivors, for example loss of time memory, poor sleeping patterns, self loathing, self splitting, dissociation, self doubt, and suicidal feelings. She then goes on to say how much she loves her father. She dedicates the book to him: "For Stanley, With All My Love". She even states how she felt at ages 10 and 11 years old : "I was pursued by feelings of shame. I sensed a mounting darkness threatening to drown me. I kept trying to fight it off before it could swallow up my life. I didn't realise it at the time, but I had taken on my shoulders all the blame, fear, anger and shame that belonged to my father." She then goes on to say how much she loves him, how he loves her. She talks about a helix of "simple love", she describes vacations away with her father, sharing hotel rooms when she was a pre adolescent, a young teen. She talks about how he is the most talented, charismatic person she knows. She describes the incest world in their relationship as 'inexpressible' as a 'world of joy and deep feeling and aliveness'.Read more ›
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By irista on December 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
That said, her experiences sound credible enough. Sad, but so often brilliant people are is mentally ill (her father). Bless her.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JJ on November 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was a classical pianist always looking for something else ... more FREEDOM. Discovered Stan Kenton...
and knew my direction! (I did become a professional musician.) He, seemed almost semi-classical at times, mixed in with jazz.
This book is a good insight into Stan the man, but was so upsetting to me (this - about my IDOL?), I can only take it in small doses. Do some HIDE behind alcohol... blaming IT? I do think he was an alcoholic.
Life on the road isn't easy!
I don't like that I can't read it thru easily, but it IS - what it IS! Many Musicians are sensitive I guess. I am not sure either parent of Leslie's was a solid, "together" parent. MHO.
Glad to add this to my collection of Kenton books. I had to... and such a long time coming!
Was to be called "Dancing With The Dark".
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12 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Riffduck on August 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's obvious from her obsession with unimportant trivia that Leslie Kenton is just filling pages with words. Whether or not she was sexually abused by her father will probably never be known. This book is the first I, or any of my fellow friends of Stan Kenton, have heard concerning the accusation. We all have our demons, and incest is certainly one of the darkest. But I have always refused to believe a story like this based on the word of only one person who obviously is carrying demons that have nothing to do with her accusation. If she were that 10 year old making the accusation now it absolutely should be investigated. But this long after that supposed abuse it does nothing buy sully the name of a Jazz Great who is no longer around to defend himself.
I am so sorry that she is one of those poor souls who was subjected to the medieval practice of electroshock therapy and I'm afraid that bogus treatment may have led to many hallucinatory memories that have no factual basis.

All in all, it's both a boring and sad read and does nothing but tarnish my enjoyment of some of the most beautiful music ever created.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence Routt on October 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a long time lover of big band music of the 1930s and 40s and espically that of Stan Kenton Ihave read everything I could find about his life and his music. I have often wondered at what drove these musicans to live the life they lived. Life away from home, family,friends. Leslie Kenton tells of many of the driving forces of this lifestyle,showing the joys as well as it's devestating effects. I admire her story telling writing style while knowing that as the writer it is only her views of it all. I found it a very enjoyable read touching on many events ( but not all ) I was familiar with
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