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January 11, 2014

THE BEAUTIFUL AMERICAN by Marilyn Holdsworth

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A Novel
Marilyn Holdsworth
The Beautiful American
  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse (April 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1468556444
  • ISBN-13: 978-1468556445
Literature and Fiction
Biographies and Memoirs
(from Goodreads)
Abby Long is thrilled when she offers the winning bid for an antique desk at an auction. With its intricately inlaid woods and elegant style, the desk is perfect for Abby; it is the gift she promised herself to finally celebrate her thriving antique business. She has no idea that the antique desk holds a secret that will lead her on a fascinating, life-changing journey back in time. When Abby discovers a hidden diary stuffed inside a secret compartment in the desk, she can hardly wait to read the spidery, faded script. As she carefully turns the tattered pages, she reads the captivating story of two remarkable women from opposite backgrounds who somehow manage to form an unforgettable bond against the backdrop of a fledgling America struggling to find its place in the world. Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, the wife of James Monroe, and Jasmine, a young slave girl, develop an extraordinary relationship as they are united by pivotal historic events, political intrigues, and personal tragedies. From a bucolic Virginia plantation to the bloodied, starving streets of post-revolutionary Paris, this powerful tale follows the lives of two courageous women from the past as they quietly influence-and inspire-a woman of today's world.
We have two tales woven together.  One in today's time in New England, one in the late 18th century American and France. 
The story is told by Jasmine, a slave girl as her perspective. The story includes the James Monroe's family before Monroe became the 5th president.
There is Abby who is an antique dealer.  She goes to auction and buys a desk.  A romance starts when she meets Nathan, an architect. Both of them find a diary in the desk, and this leads to the second story.

Jasmine is a slave who lives on James Monroe's plantation as he is about to serve as France's ambassador. Gabriel and Jasmine are both dealing with their slavery in different manners.  Jasmine is cheerful and does her duties without any problems.  On the other hand Gabriel is bitter and goes against the slavery in a violent way.  Jasmine only asks for clothes, an education and a noticed place in the house.   Gabriel who thinks he is so powerful that he takes whatever he wants by exerting force.
Gabriel says that Jasmine is "his" and he will come and take her someday.
We now are introduced to Andre, your perfect kind of man.  What a rarity? He is the perfect definition of a gentleman . He has definite plans and is adamant about carrying them out.  He works so that they become a reality.
There is also a modern tale of  good man, Nathan Edwards, the man Abby had met at auction.  He is a decision maker and works hard.  He intends on making dreams come true and taking Abby with him to start a  new life.Another good man who loves his wife dearly, even calling her his "champion", struggles to find new ways to make his family stronger, smarter and happier.  This is James Monroe.
The story was interesting because you feel the change in Hasmine as she learns from Monroe's daughter, Liza.  The characters each  have their own characteristics and personalities.
Something I found very interesting was that a slave ,Gabriel was a real person.  He had started a slave revolution.  The author does a wonderful job of comparing the French and American cultures after France's revolution.    The author gives the reader a short deal of history on American politics in France.  The author must have done quite a bit of research to get the facts for the book. Ms. Holdsworth wrote a very enjoyable read with characters that you can picture in your mind.  She adds a little humor to the story.

Often repeated in the story is a phrase, "La Belle Americaine".  Doesn't that sound beautiful?  I thought it did.  The phrase appears in the diary that was found in the antique desk.  Who do you think was the "Beautiful American" in this historical tale?
The author, Ms. Holdsworth wrote a beautiful, entertaining and historic read.  It gives you an idea of what times were like back then.  I would recommend this book to anyone.  It's a wonderful read.  It won't take but maybe two days to read.  Two days of which you will not forget.

I would give this book 4 RIBBONS.

I was given a complimentary copy of THE BEAUTIFUL AMERICAN from Marilyn Holdsworth  for my honest opinion.
Marilyn Holdsworth graduated from Occidental College, where she majored in literature and history. She has traveled extensively in France and currently is a Huntington Library Fellow. Marilyn is a descendant of James Monroe, has visited Monroe's Virginia residence, and conducted research at the James Monroe Museum. She currently lives in Southern California.

As a novelist, I draw on many real life experiences to provide background for my books. After completing studies in Literature and History at Occidental College, I became a staff writer on a travel magazine, and throughout my career I have traveled extensively all over the world.

Because I love horses, I owned and trained them. I support horse rescue and wild mustang preservation. Based on my experience with horses and my research on abuse issues, I wrote Pegasus.

As a descendant of James Monroe, I did extensive research at the James Monroe Museum in Virginia about him and his wife Elizabeth Kortright Monroe. I also visited their home, Ashlawn/Highland in Albemarle County. This resulted in my novel, The Beautiful American.
Making Wishes, was based partly on my experiences as creator, owner and operator of a greeting card company.

My books are published by AuthorHouse and sold worldwide by Amazon, Barnes&Noble and major bookstores as hardcover, paperback or ebooks.
Other Books by Marilyn Holdsworth
Making Wishes
PegasusTime Less Recipes For Fast Track Cooking

1 comment:

MarilynHoldsworth said...

Great post on a great site.
Marilyn Holdsworth