Carole Radziwill

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On that fateful July night in 1999, Carole was at home reading Anna Karenina when she got a phone call from her best friend, Carolyn Bessette. Carolyn had boarded a plane in New Jersey and was about to take off for Massachusetts, but before she did, she wanted to confirm weekend plans with Carole.

"It was a short conversation because I was going to see her the next day," Carole says. "I hung up the phone and opened the book I was reading, and an hour later she was dead."

The plane that was carrying John, Carolyn and Carolyn's sister Lauren went down at approximately 9:38 p.m. that night.

"I became almost obsessed in the year following that night about what I was doing at the exact moment when Carolyn was in that plane," Carole says. "That first chapter that I wrote was sort of a nightmare that went over and over and over again in my head every day.

"Afterward I tried to find something to explain what had happened—was it cloudy, were the stars out?" Carole writes in her memoir. "But the night was ordinary. It usually is, I think, when your life changes. Most people aren't doing anything special when the carefully placed pieces of their life break apart."