Friday, June 13, 2014

Review: The Beautiful American

The Beautiful American
by Jeanne Mackin

Publisher: NAL Trade
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  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?

Kritters Thoughts:  Nora follows a boy across the world and they end up in Paris where they reconnect with a childhood friend who has made a name for herself and they are introduced to the glamorous side of Paris.  Things combust and World War II takes it toll on the world.  

The one thing that kept me reading from beginning to end was the ability to see Paris through an American's viewpoint and watching the beginning of Hitler's reign through her eyes.  It took quite a few pages to get to that point, but I cherished her descriptions of watching World War II impact Paris but in her heart being an American.  On the flip side, I found Nora to be whining and frustrating.  I wanted her to grow up and felt that she honestly didn't have much personal growth through her journey.

Now I am a big fan of historical fiction and absolutely loved the time period, but this book just plateaued for me and the pacing was just extremely slow.  If you are already a fan of historical fiction, this would be a good one to read, but if you are not already a fan, I would suggest reading a few others before picking up this one.

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Ebook 2014 Challenge: 37 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Penguin.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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