Greta Garbo first met society photographer Cecil Beaton in Hollywood in 1932. Both were caught in turbulent same-sex affairs. Yet Garbo flirted and danced with Beaton, told him he was pretty, presented him with 'a rose that lives and dies and never again returns' and at dawn drove away in her black Packard. Cecil took the rose home to England, framed it in silver and hung it above his bed.
Fifteen years later Greta and Cecil met again. For her it was an idle flirtation. For him it fuelled his ambition to photograph her, to be like her and to marry her - an obsession that became a betrayal. Souhami draws on diaries, memoirs, letters, photographs and films to reveal the truth behind this fascinating and narcissistic relationship.