Synopses & Reviews
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 daughters 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.
Readers Guide Included
“Readers will rank [it] right up there with The Paris Wife….A brilliant, beautifully written literary masterpiece.” New York Times bestselling author Sandra Dallas
“Will transport you to expat Paris… and from there take you on a journey through the complexities of a friendship…breathes new life into such luminaries as Man Ray, Picasso, and, of course, the titular character, Lee Miller, while at the same time offering up a wonderfully human and sympathetic protagonist in Nora Tours.” Suzanne Rindell, author of The Other Typist
“Leaves its essence of love, loss, regret, and hope long after the novel concludes." Erika Robuck, author of Fallen Beauty
“Achingly beautiful and utterly mesmerizing….Sure to appeal to fans of Paula McLain's The Paris Wife and Erika Robuck's Call Me Zelda, or indeed to anyone with a taste for impeccably researched and beautifully written historical fiction.” Jennifer Robson, author of Somewhere in France
“An engaging and unforgettable novel. I couldn't put it down.” Renee Rosen, author of Dollface
"An exquisitely imagined and beautifully rendered story of the talented, tragic, gorgeous Lee Miller." Becky E. Conekin, author of Lee Miller in Fashion
About the Author
Jeanne Mackin teaches creative writing at Goddard College in Vermont and has taught or conducted workshops in Pennsylvania, Hawaii and New York. She lives with her husband, artist Steve Poleskie, in upstate New York. She is also the author of several novels: The Sweet By and By, Dreams of Empire, The Queens War, and The Frenchwoman.