The Beautiful American

  • by Jeanne Mackin
  • Narrated by Kate Reading
  • 11 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From Paris in the1920s 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, expatriate American NoraTours travels from her home in southern France to London in search of her missing 16-year-old daughter. There she unexpectedly meets up with an oldacquaintance, famous model-turned-photographer Lee Miller. Neither has emergedfrom the war unscathed. Nora is racked with the fear that her efforts tosurvive under the Vichy regime may have cost her daughter's life. Lee suffersfrom 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 achance 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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Simply wonderful

The Beautiful American was simply wonderful - a great story, well developed characters, masterful narration. I felt like the book had so many themes relevant to all: universal human imperfection, true love and friendship, war and betrayal, kindness and brutality. The story feels authentic, honest, believable, with a very satisfying ending. This one stands out. I was thoroughly engaged, and will be looking for more by Jeanne Mackin.
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- nursebettyknitting "knitting fiend"

Great Summer or any season Read

Where does The Beautiful American rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It is not the best of books but a really good book. That is not damning with faint praise by any means. Jeanne Mackin wrote a book that held my interest, kept me coming back to my Kindle for a listen and gave yet another view of the WW2 war years.


What did you like best about this story?

It was written by a woman who knows the woman's point of view. Not all do. She has a mature understanding of what it is like to suffer lost love and the deep attachment to a child. She understands the young heart that wants to live outside the box.


Have you listened to any of Kate Reading’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, I am certain that she read for the Wheel of Time series. She is a fine actor.


If you could take any character from The Beautiful American out to dinner, who would it be and why?

I cannot remember the name of the Russian immigrant with whom Nora lived for a time in southern France. She is the one I would most like to know. She had courage and I am certain a tremendous story to tell on her own. (Hint to author)


Any additional comments?

Just appreciation for a great listen and hope for more.

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- Carolyn

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-03-2014
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.