Spotlight, interview, and giveaway: The Beautiful American

The Beautiful AmericanThe Beautiful American

(historical fiction)


Jeanne Mackin

Release date: June 3, 2014
at New American Library/Penguin

352 pages

ISBN: 978-0-451-46582-5

Website | 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 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.

A novel of freedom and frailty, desire and daring, The Beautiful American portrays the extraordinary relationship between two passionate, unconventional women. [provided by the author]
For reviewers’ attention: brief, very mild sex and violence


Praise for The Beautiful American

“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

“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

“Beautiful…A fascinating account of a little-known woman who was determined to play by her own rules.”–Historical Novel Society



I sat carefully on a settee, self-conscious about the run in my stocking and wishing Lee had not sprung this event as a surprise. For someone like Olga Picasso, now sitting ramrod straight in a Louis Quinze chair, one should at least comb one’s hair, refresh one’s lipstick. I felt like a child at a grown-ups’ party.

In one corner, an electric train had been set up for the little boy, Paulo and several times I caught Olga giving that messy train set the kind of look a hostess gives a stray dog that wanders into a formal garden. She did not want it there. I decided I would spend the evening playing with Paulo and his train.

Picasso stood smiling in the middle of this battle of wills, perfectly at ease, the sun around which everyone else in the room revolved. (Lee explained later that his real studio, his working studio, was upstairs in a different part of the building, and no one, absolutely no one, not even Olga, was allowed into it. No one except his mistress, Marie-Thérèse, that was.)

Lee sat on a settee opposite Olga, and Man sat next to her, so close their elbows rubbed.

“Lee,” Picasso said, “are you still wasting your time with those fashion photographers?” He tugged at his long, straight forelock and smoothed it back, a gesture he repeated frequently that evening. It was gesture I had seen in other men, usually those proud of their thick hair, an emblem of youth, but in Picasso the gesture was so exaggerated it seemed more a ritual, a superstition, than simple vanity.

“Fashion pays the bills,” Lee said. “Cheers.” She drained her glass and held it out for a refill.

“My portraits pay the bills,” Man said darkly.

“And you, young man, are the new assistant?” Picasso turned to Jamie. “Man doesn’t usually take male assistants, only young girls.”

“He did it as a favor to me,” Lee said, finishing her second cocktail. “I thought it would be fun to have a young man around.” She turned ashen, realizing what she had just said, and that it could not be taken back. So she went forward. “Besides, he’s taller,” she said, slipping her arm through Man’s. “Finally, I can make you jealous.” And that was the perfect ploy. His ego was flattered. His mistress longed for his jealousy.


Jeanne MackinJeanne Mackin is the author of several historical novels set in France,
and has earned awards for her journalism
as well as a creative writing fellowship
from the American Antiquarian Society.
She lives in upstate New York with her husband,
cats and herd of deer,
and is still trying to master the French subjunctive.

Visit her website.

Follow Jeanne Mackin on Twitter | Facebook

Buy the book | on Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books a Million | Google Play | iBookstore | Indiebound | Powells


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5 copies:
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The Bones of Paris: giveaway winner

The Bones of Paris banner



The Bones of Paris


Laurie R. KING

Release date: September 10, by Random House/Bantam

432 pages

The Bones of ParisRead my review

Purchase the book
Random House | Amazon |B&N | Google |iBookstore |IndieBound




Disappointed you did not win?

Do not despair,

here is another chance for you to win this awesome book!

enter until the very last day of September

The Bones of Paris: review and giveaway. I love France #66

The Bones of Paris banner 


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The Bones of Paris


Laurie R. KING

Release date: September 10, by Random House/Bantam

432 pages

In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this book as an ARC copy for free from  the publisher
in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I was in no way compensated for this post as a reviewer,
and the thoughts are my own.

The Bones of Paris

Purchase the book
Random House | Amazon |B&N | Google |iBookstore |IndieBound

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

     Books on France New Authors 2013     


rating systemAs I had never read anything by Laurie R. King, participating in this virtual book tour was a great opportunity to discover a great and famous author, through this historical mystery.

The Bones of Paris is not a short mystery to have fun for a few hours. It is a very dense book, very well written. it will grab you and will not let you go, it will drag you in the most noir and macabre places of Paris in the 1920s. You will feel horrified at times, but beware, you will not be able to resist the pull.

I enjoyed the main character of Harris, an American in Paris, and followed him through the city, through Pigalle, Montparnasse, Montmartre, trying to figure out what happened to Philippa, who’s been missing. Then, more people are missing…
With Harris, I hoped against hope, but I discovered something very different than what he and I the reader, expected through him.

I was also intrigued about his relation to a certain Bennett; details got clearer little by little.

The greatness of the book is more than just mystery and a fantastic sense of suspense. It is also within the background of the rich cultural life in Paris, at a time when the American presence was booming in the French capital city.
You get plunged in the world of cafés and prostitutes, and meet extraordinary artists, such as the famous photographer Man Ray, and are led gradually to their very gruesome art, an art very popular in France between the two world wars. That’s the height of the Dada and surrealist movements, remember.

You will visit fascinating and intriguing places in Paris, such as the Théâtre du Grand-Guignol (closed in 1962) and the Catacombes,  that you may have visited for real.

It was also a fun bonus to meet Ernest Hemingway, Josephine Baker, and Sylvia Beach, running the famous English bookstore, Shakespeare & Company – I visited it last year and posted some pictures.

The Bones of Paris is actually the 2nd volume with Harris, but it works perfectly as a stand-alone. Here is about the 1st volume, Touchstone, in case you are intrigued.

If you love mysteries, historical fiction, and books set in Paris, well, why are you adding this book to your already too long TBR? You need to read this book now! And I definitely plan to read more books by Laurie R. King


Additionally, I enjoyed very much some descriptions of the city. See for instance:

The raindrops grew smaller, then slowed. As the sky cleared, the full moon pressed against the house, cool light whispering a path along the threads of the bedroom carpet. page 3

In general, Americans were an entertaining lot, what with their boundless energy and complete lack of subtlety –although like any Parisian, there were times when he viewed the Yanqui invasion with as little enthusiasm as he would a  herd of bison loosed in the Trocadéro. page 144

Wednesday evening, the full moon began to push through clouds above the city of light. It nosed into the city’s dark corners, danced on the Seine, played with the spires of stone and steel. caused the blood to stir in reply. page 264


 Russell/Sherlock Holmes series, consistently writes richly detailed and thoroughly suspenseful novels that bring a distant time and place to brilliant life. Now, in this thrilling new book, King leads readers into the vibrant and sensual Paris of the Jazz Age—and reveals the darkest secrets of its denizens.

Paris, France: September 1929. For Harris Stuyvesant, the assignment is a private investigator’s dream—he’s getting paid to troll the cafés and bars of Montparnasse, looking for a pretty young woman. The American agent has a healthy appreciation for la vie de bohème, despite having worked for years at the U.S. Bureau of Investigation. The missing person in question is Philippa Crosby, a twenty-two year old from Boston who has been living in Paris, modeling and acting. Her family became alarmed when she stopped all communications, and Stuyvesant agreed to track her down. He wholly expects to find her in the arms of some up-and-coming artist, perhaps experimenting with the decadent lifestyle that is suddenly available on everyrue and boulevard.

As Stuyvesant follows Philippa’s trail through the expatriate community of artists and writers, he finds that she is known to many of its famous—and infamous—inhabitants, from Shakespeare and Company’s Sylvia Beach to Ernest Hemingway to the Surrealist photographer Man Ray. But when the evidence leads Stuyvesant to the Théâtre du Grand-Guignol in Montmartre, his investigation takes a sharp, disturbing turn. At the Grand-Guignol, murder, insanity, and sexual perversion are all staged to shocking, brutal effect: depravity as art, savage human nature on stage.

Soon it becomes clear that one missing girl is a drop in the bucket. Here, amid the glittering lights of the cabarets, hides a monster whose artistic coup de grâce is to be rendered in blood. And Stuyvesant will have to descend into the darkest depths of perversion to find a killer . . . sifting through The Bones of Paris. [provided by the publisher]


Laurie R. King

Laurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of ten Mary Russell mysteries,
five contemporary novels featuring Kate Martinelli,
and the acclaimed novels A Darker Place, Folly, Keeping Watch, and Touchstone.
She lives in Northern California
where she is currently at work on her next novel.


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* If you have problems entering the giveaway for this book, please send me an email before midnight on 8/15 at ehc16e {at] yahoo [dot) com. Include in it:

  1. the title of the book you are entering to win – write this in the subject to be sure I don’t think your email is spam
  2. the email address you use to subscribe to this blog by email [after you enter your email address in the top right corner to follow my blog by email, you will receive an email confirmation. If you do not confirm, your subscription will not show as active, and I will not be able to count your entry in the giveaway]
  3. the url of your tweet of this giveaway, for an extra entry.

* when you enter a giveaway, I keep your email address only until a winner has been chosen and has confirmed. After that, I delete the form where your answers were stored during the duration of the giveaway. If you win and you email me your mailing address, I delete this email and its information as soon as I have mailed you the book.



Sunday, September 1st
Review + Giveaway at Words And Peace

Monday, September 2
Review + Giveaway at Musings From An Addicted Reader

Tuesday, September 3
Review + Giveaway at
Review + Giveaway at Olduvai Reads

Wednesday, September 4
Review + Giveaway at I Am, Indeed

Friday, September 6
Review + Giveaway at Mommasez…

Sunday, September 8
Review + Giveaway at Poofbooks

Monday, September 9
Review + Giveaway at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Tuesday, September 10
Review + Giveaway at Giraffe Days
Review + Giveaway at vvb32 Reads
Review + Giveaway at Cabin Goddess



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