Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Beautiful American” virtual book tour through HFVBT: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Jeanne Mackin, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Why I felt I might fancy this novel:
I have a personal penchant for what I refer to as ‘Biographical Historical Fiction’ wherein the historical persons who lived are aptly portrayed through a historical treatment of their lives by a novelist who has a flaire for bringing their lives so fully to life, we feel as though we’ve met them in person. You’ll find that I have read quite a hearty array of historicals which befit this category and am always quite in full search of new writers who can lead me back through the corridors of the past and introduce me to someone who will bring history alive to me in all it’s glory and heartache. As for each life told, there is a happy balance of joy and strife, such is a well-rounded life well lived and told thereafter the person has passed on.
I personally find joy in this section of historical stories because the past becomes fiercely alive through the voices of the authors who pen these kinds of stories. We get to take an up close and personal voyage back through the tides of time whilst being caught up in the livelihood of a person who truly lived and felt every inch of the emotions we hope to catch sight of in the novel.
Note on the Cover Art: Did anyone else notice the sepia tone of hue on the cover when Lee Miller is being highlighted and how Paris in the background is a more muted reverie? I felt this was a fitting touch to the novel, especially as you become further into her folds, this novel doesn’t quite want to let you go – it stays with you, and you realise things you hadn’t seen at first glaance.
As recovery from World War II begins, expat American Nora Tours travels from her home in southern France to London in search of her missing sixteen-year-old daughter. There, she unexpectedly meets up with an old acquaintance, famous model-turned-photographer Lee Miller. Neither has emerged from the war unscathed. Nora is racked with the fear that her efforts to survive under the Vichy regime may have cost her daughter’s life. Lee suffers from what she witnessed as a war correspondent photographing the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps.
Nora and Lee knew each other in the heady days of late 1920’s Paris, when Nora was giddy with love for her childhood sweetheart, Lee became the celebrated mistress of the artist Man Ray, and Lee’s magnetic beauty drew them all into the glamorous lives of famous artists and their wealthy patrons. But Lee fails to realize that her friendship with Nora is even older, that it goes back to their days as children in Poughkeepsie, New York, when a devastating trauma marked Lee forever. Will Nora’s reunion with Lee give them a chance to forgive past betrayals, and break years of silence?
A novel of freedom and frailty, desire and daring, The Beautiful American portrays the extraordinary relationship between two passionate, unconventional woman.
Places to find the book:
Published by New American Library
on 3rd June 2014
Format: Paperback ARC
Converse via: #TheBeautifulAmericanRead More
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge