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In 1920, Elsa Emerson is born in idyllic Door County, Wisconsin. Her family owns the Cherry County Playhouse, and Elsa relishes appearing onstage, where she soaks up the approval of her father and the embrace of the audience. But when tragedy strikes her family, acting becomes more than a child's game of pretend. Elsa marries and flees to Los Angeles. There she is discovered by Irving Green, one of the most powerful executives in Hollywood, who refashions her and renames her Laura Lamont. Laura experiences all the glamour and extravagance of the heady pinnacle of stardom in the studio-system era, but ultimately her story is a timeless one of a woman trying to balance career, family, and personal happiness, all while remaining true to herself.