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Once Upon a Secret

My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


In the summer of 1962, nineteen-year-old Mimi Beardsley arrived in Washington, D.C., to begin an internship in the White House press office. After just three days on the job, the privileged but sheltered young woman was presented to the President himself. Almost immediately, the two began an affair that would continue for the next eighteen months. Emotionally unprepared to counter the President’s charisma and power, Mimi was also ill-equipped to handle the feelings of isolation that would follow as she fell into the double life of a college student who was also the secret lover of the most powerful man in the world. After the President’s assassination in Dallas, she grieved alone, locked her secret away, and tried to start a new life, only to be blindsided by her past.
Now, no longer defined by silence or shame, Mimi Alford finally unburdens herself with this unflinchingly honest account of her life and her extremely private moments with a very public man. This paperback edition includes a special Q&A, in which the author reflects on the intense media attention surrounding the book’s initial release. Once Upon a Secret is a moving story of a woman emerging from the shadows to reclaim the truth.
“With the benefit of hindsight and good old-fashioned maturity, [Mimi Alford] writes not just about the secret, but the corrosive effect of keeping that secret. . . . You can’t help liking her, or her elegant and thoroughly good-natured book.”—The Spectator

“What [Alford] sacrificed in lucre she has more than recovered in credibility and dignity.”—The Washington Times
“Compelling . . . a polished voice telling a credible story you can take to the bank.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Explosive . . . searingly candid.”—New York Post

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Customer Reviews

So many lessons!

I have nothing but praise for this spellbinding book! I read it cover to cover in one sitting! It wasn't the juicy tidbits that one would expect, that kept me turning the pages. It was the immense lessons and long delayed insights that were captivating for me. To me, it wasn't about the famous President and his sexual appetite. It was about the mistakes we all make in our youth, and the inability to see what impact they will have on our future. But the lesson I carry away from this book is the importance of free, open and honest communcation that we all need in our lives. Especially those we love and desire to spend our lives with, Truly an outstanding book!


I am humbled after reading Mimi's story. Mimi is a being of an almost supernatural force of strength to write of her affair that forced her to be brutally honest with humiliations and other events during her internship at the White House from the very young age of nineteen. Mimi is unbiased throughout. She carries a sense of regality and perfected class as she paints American's the story of her piece in history. She is humble, she is logical and realistic. Mimi Alford is a footnote to the evolution of human beings being courageous to tell of their faults regardless of and unharmed from the inevitable scrutiny of the public. This story has been played in my mind as a movie. I was intrigued. I was at the edge of my seat. I was disgusted. I couldn't get enough. I laughed. I cried. I felt her pain, not even being able to fathom the intensity of which she felt her pain. And most important, I felt in love with the President, because Once Upon a Secret is magical and shares an iconic piece of history in a sensual and enthralling way that will give no choice to readers than to become Mimi Alford. Wonderful.


Mimi is a hero. I thank her and applaud her, for her strength. She has taken a secret and has sculptured it into a masterful revelation about human nature. Brava Mimi, Brava!

Once Upon a Secret
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Feb 08, 2012
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 224 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings