Title: The Beautiful American
Author: Jeanne Mackin
Genre: Literary Fiction
Number of Pages: 378
Synopsis: From Paris in the 1920s to London after the Blitz, two women find that a secret from their past reverberates through years of joy and sorrow....
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 1920s 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 to forge a meaningful connection as women who have shared the best and the worst that life can offer?
A novel of freedom and frailty, desire and daring, The Beautiful American portrays the extraordinary relationship between two passionate, unconventional women.
The Beautiful American is an elegantly written novel that explores the lives of two fascinating women whose paths' cross several times between childhood and middle-age. Their experiences will inspire you, make you smile, and leave you with a heavy heart. It's a journey not to be missed.
Nora is an American living abroad in France but when her sixteen-year-old daughter turns up missing, Nora's search takes her to London. As her search continues where she runs into her old friend, Lee Miller. Lee invites Nora to dinner and Nora's recollection of the past begins. Much of what Nora remembers, Lee has suppressed. Will their chance meeting force them to face the alarming experiences of the past in order to find forgiveness?
I am a fan of historical fiction and thoroughly enjoyed the colorful characters like Man Ray, Pablo Picasso as well as Lee Miller, whom I wasn't aware was a real person until later in the story. Nora is also a dynamic character, although fictional, and her relationship with Lee makes the story flourish. The Beautiful American is well penned and the historical research is accurate, adding to the story's credibility. I also admire how the novel is able to stimulate so many emotions as the characters examine their lives and come to terms with their past.
I highly recommend picking up a copy. Available on Amazon.