The Beautiful American by Jeanne Mackin @jeannemackin1
Really not much to state about this book. I feel the beautiful cover speaks for it. This cover has drawn me in so much I had to purchase the book to read. Hopefully I will get to it in October or November.
Interested in following the tour? Click on the banner, comment at all stops and you might win a photo/postcard collection from the 1920s. A perfect prize to go along with a perfect book. While waiting click on over to Amazon and get your copy.
The Beautiful American
by Jeanne Mackin
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 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 their reunion 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?
The very first hint of fragrance, experienced when the perfume bottle is first opened, before the fragrance is in direct contact with the skin, the nose and the heart. Similar, really, to a book opened but not yet read…or, perhaps, a door opened to a visitor not yet visible, one who lurks in shadow. The départ begins the journey of the perfume and its wearer.
—From the notebooks of N. Tours
In the ornate doorway of Harrods perfume hall people rushed past me as I stood, frozen.
A radio played somewhere, Churchill’s voice rising over the crowd, commending the English again for surviving the storm-beaten voyage. The war was over, we were picking up the pieces and carefully, slowly putting our lives back together. But my daughter was lost. The grief struck me anew and I was immobile in a doorway, unable to go forwards or backwards, unmoored by grief.
A summer afternoon long ago Jamie and I went to Upton Lake to swim and make love, and there had been a boat, abandoned by rich summer people who didn’t know how to tie a knot, and the boat had bobbed in the waves, turning this way and that as a storm stalked over the lake. I was that boat. “Move on!” the doorman shouted at me, but my legs wouldn’t work. I was exhausted. When I walked there was a chant in my head, Dahlia is gone, Dahlia is gone, over and over, a syllable with every step, so that I hated to move. People pushed past me, some smiling in sympathy, some merely irritated. Their string shopping bags and brown-wrapped boxes jostled me; their elbows poked.
The doorman frowned. He took me by the arm and pulled me out of that flood of people. “Look, dearie,” he said. “Are you coming or going?”
“I don’t know,” I admitted.
His expression softened. He was an older man with a deeply lined face, pale eyes sunk into their sockets, and there was an authority to him that went beyond his doorman’s uniform. Probably during the war he had been an air raid warden. He would have been too old to be a soldier.
“Well then,” he said. “Why don’t you go in? That’s always a good starting point. There you go.” He turned me around, gently, and gave me a little push, back to that threshold, where I suddenly remembered I wanted to enter, to continue the search for my daughter.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Jeanne Mackin is the author of several novels: The Sweet By and By (St. Martin’s Press), Dreams of Empire (Kensington Books), The Queen’s War (St. Martin’s Press), and The Frenchwoman (St. Martin’s Press). She has published short fiction and creative nonfiction in several journals and periodicals including American Letters and Commentary and SNReview. She is also the author of the Cornell Book of Herbs and Edible Flowers (Cornell University publications) and co-editor of The Norton Book of Love (W.W. Norton), and wrote art columns for newspapers as well as feature articles for several arts magazines. She was the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society and her journalism has won awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, in Washington, D.C. She teaches creative writing at Goddard College in Vermont, has taught or conducted workshops in Pennsylvania, Hawaii and New York and has traveled extensively in Europe. She lives with her husband, Steve Poleskie, in upstate New York.