Debated book set for BC signing
There are two sides to every story. Rebecca Stark Nugent has told hers in “If the Devil had a Wife,” a book about the Stark family, fortune and secrets.
The most controversial book in Orange County has been flying out the door of the only store brave enough to carry it.
Bayou Trading Company in Bridge City, an antique shop, has sold more than 500 copies in just the last couple of weeks. They keep getting more thinking it will be enough to carry them through the book-signing scheduled for Friday.
Byron Buchanan, one of the owners of shop, said he read the first chapter when they brought about 15 books to the store. The next day, they sold out. They brought another 100 books in, thinking that would be enough to hold them until the book-signing. He read the next chapter. They sold out again. This time they brought in 350 books. Buchanan finished the book. The next day they sold 50 copies.
“I want to read it again; I want to see the movie!” exclaimed Buchanan.
They have since sold out of all 350 books. Tuesday they started the day with six books and received a shipment of 302. More than 50 had been sold by early afternoon. “Demand remains good,” said Buchanan with a laugh during a phone interview.
The Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation claims the accusations are not true.
A quote from Homer Stark, who passed away in 2008, on the back cover says, “If anyone ever writes a history of the Stark family, it will make ‘Peyton Place’ look like a Sunday school picnic.”
The controversy is how the book suggests that Nelda Stark had a hand in the demise of four members of the Stark family, Miriam, Lutcher Stark’s mother; Nita, Lutcher’s first wife; Ruby, Lutcher’s second wife and Nelda’s sister; Lutcher; several employees who may have known too much; and even her own mother.
The volume also shines a light on an alleged lesbian affair with Eunice Benckenstein and their reported plot to marry rich men and take control of their money.
Nugent backs up her stories with interviews of former employees and documents found in county clerks’ offices in both Texas and Louisiana and thousands of documents produced during a lawsuit over Nita’s estate.
Fact or fiction, “If the Devil had a Wife” is an interesting read and should make a great movie if one is ever made.
Rebecca Stark Nugent used the pseudonym of “Frank Mills” – Homer Stark’s birth name. Names of some of the other characters have been changed to “protect the innocent,” according to the book’s introduction.
Nugent will sign books from 3-6 p.m. Friday at Bayou Trading, 1170 Texas Ave. in Bridge City. “I’m wondering how we’re going to handle the crowd,” said Michael Eiden, co-owner of Bayou Trading Co.
Get there early if you want a book – the event will likely be a sell-out.