An Iron Girl in a Velvet Glove
Written by Triona Holden,
author, artist, journalist & BBC broadcaster.
HARDBACK BOOK 278 pages. 49 B&W images. Biography: arts & entertainment.
Joan Rhodes left audiences speechless as she bent steel bars with her teeth, ripped phone books into quarters and lifted two men at a time. Her superstrength was forged out of desperation to survive. Born into poverty in 1920s London and abandoned by her parents, Joan endured a spell in the workhouse. Nevertheless, she made it to the top, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Fred Astaire, Bob Hope and Sammy Davis Jnr. Joan’s crowning glory was to perform for the Queen at Windsor Castle. She was lifelong friends with Marlene Dietrich, Quentin Crisp and Dame Laura Knight, who painted her portrait. Triona Holden met Joan in her later years and, after she passed away, set out to secure her friend’s place in history. This fascinating hardback book, An Iron Girl in a Velvet Glove, tells the tumultuous story of a woman who followed her own unique path.