Mariana Pasternak was one of Martha Stewart's closest friends for nearly 20 years. She was also among those to take the stand against Stewart in the high-profile case that sent the domestic diva to prison.
In her book "The Best of Friends: Martha and Me," Pasternak shares what it was like to be in Stewart's inner circle for all those years and pushed her back to the outside.
Read an excerpt of the book below, and then head to the "GMA" Library to find more good reads.
The attractive blond intruder, wearing a conservative button-down shirt and pleated khaki shorts that came to just above her knees, stood next to her bike in front of our garden gate and peered in. My fiance and I were having a Memorial Day party on our Westport grounds, two acres with a large lawn, landscaped gardens, old and new trees, a covered loggia, and a garden terrace. Enclosed by stone walls, the property could be entered via the main gate or the garden gate, which was open under a cascade of fragrant wisteria blossoms. The preppie-looking lady walked her bike right through.
Two other couples, friends from Manhattan, had come to spend the long weekend. It was Sunday afternoon, and warm in the East Coast way of May, the summer perennials putting out petals and the tips of green leaves, coaxed ahead by the sunny soil. There were bees fat from early bee balm, and good-fortune ladybugs plump with aphids. We had just finished lunch and were lounging on comfortable chaises, sipping chilled Chablis Premier Cru, passing back and forth sections of the Sunday New York Times, the discarded pages in a fluttering heap under the glass-topped terrace table. Our new puppy, Attila the Hun, an adorable golden brown Vizsla -- all legs, ears, and personality -- had fallen asleep on my lap.
I put him down and walked toward our new visitor. As I approached, she stared at me. I had never seen a woman's eyes look at me with such intensity -- her gaze seemed to reflect a masculine dominance, feminine competitiveness, and a child's curiosity all at once. I saw her eyes sweep across my body, take me in, process me, my youth, my shorts, my high heels. I had colored my copper-chestnut hair a brave bright blond and wore my long locks down, or in a carefree twist held to my head with a found stick. While most of the American women I knew in the early 1980s sported preppie outfits that suggested "proper," I was more interested in "chic." I was comfortable with my body and, like many European women of my age, I grew up inspired by images from French-Italian cinema and influenced by the British Mod subculture of the hyper-cool.
I saw the slightest shadow ripple across her face, and then just as quickly she brightened up. "Hi," she said with willful cheerfulness. "I'm Martha. Your neighbor. Thought I might stop for a glass of water before biking up the hill to my house."
I invited her to sit down with us, but she declined. I called out, "Everyone, this is our neighbor, Martha," then went inside to get her some water. When I came out, she was still standing rigidly near the gate, holding her bike with one hand, with everyone watching. By that simple act of staying where she was, she had managed to disrupt our party and make herself the focus of everyone's attention.
She sipped her water and then said, "I'd heard a handsome bachelor doctor had just moved in here. I thought I might come by to meet him."