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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- Pamela Dale Foster