Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Beautiful American by Jeanne Mackin - Excerpt Tour and Giveaway

Enjoy an exclusive excerpt from The Beautiful American as part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jeanne will be awarding a photo/postcard collection from the 1920s (US/Canada only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

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?

Enjoy this exclusive excerpt:

Note de Tête

Top note: the fragrance first released when the perfume achieves initial contact with the skin of the wearer, predominating in the olfactory sense for approximately fifteen minutes. Quite often these first notes of fragrance remind the wearer of a certain day in childhood, the smell of a chamomile lawn or a spice cake, or a sunny day at a picnic spot. The top note is the first station on the journey, where the decision of yes or no must be made.

--From the notebook of N. Tours

In the kingdom of smells, everything is either bliss or torture.


Chapter One

"You!" she said, and a few of her top parcels fell, as if in emphasis. The old doorman saluted and bent to retrieve them. Lee straightened her hat with a preoccupied gesture. She wore an expensive suit, well cut of real Scottish tweed, but it had seen better days. "I haven't seen you since..." She paused, thinking.

"Paris. Nineteen thirty-two," I supplied.

"Yes. Paris." Her face softened. With the help of the doorman, she balanced her packages in a way that allowed her to extend her gloved hand.

Lee shook hands like a man, with a strong grip and a pumping action. You had to stand your ground or her handshake could knock you off balance.

"You are dressing much better," she said. "I like the jacket. Good lines."

It was one of Dahlia's jackets, made for her by Omar's housekeeper. Omar was my dear friend in Grasse but I didn't say that, because then I would have to talk about Dahlia and explain who Omar was and it would be difficult to end all the explanations. Sixteen years is a long time, even longer when a war stalks through them. Sixteen years could not be condensed to casual chitchat in the doorway of Harrods. "I like your suit," I said, settling for the predictable.

"I still feel more comfortable in trousers and combat boots." Lee hesitated, considering. Perhaps she was pursuing phantoms as well.

About the Author:
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. Website:

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Penguin.

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  1. so glad to be here, visiting. Thanks for having me! So, a question for your visitors: who is your favorite female character in history?
    Jeanne Mackin, author of The Beautiful American

  2. I love the Excerpt, very interesting.

  3. I really enjoyed the excerpt! the cover is so gorgeous!

  4. Nice writing, Jeanne! Your experience comes through--well done!

  5. thank you, Nicole, Carole and bn100. I agree that NAL did a great job with the cover. Hope you have a chance to read the novel!
    - Jeanne


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