*Editor's note: this giveaway is now closed.
Historical fiction offers a closer look at the social components of history. Drawing from true events and real people, this genre makes the past personal. This month, we've partnered with Kensington to bring you two glimpses into New York's glamorous past. From the Gilded Age to the 60s, scandal is never scarce in the city that never sleeps.
This exciting bundle includes An American Beauty, a biographical historical novel that follows the rise of late 19th-century businesswoman Arabella Huntington, and Such Good Friends, which centers on the socialites in Truman Capote's inner circle. We're giving away 26 bundles of both great reads; one grand prize winner will also receive a "vintage library" scented candle and a sleek page holder!
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About the Prizes
An American Beauty
Amidst the opulent glamor and vicious social circles of Gilded Age New York, this stunning biographical historical novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Second Mrs. Astor conjures the true rags-to-riches story of Arabella Huntington—a woman whose great beauty was surpassed only by her exceptional business acumen, grit, and artistic eye, and who defied the constraints of her era to become the wealthiest self-made woman in America.
1867, Richmond, Virginia: Though she wears the same low-cut purple gown that is the uniform of all the girls who work at Worsham’s gambling parlor, Arabella stands apart. It’s not merely her statuesque beauty and practiced charm. Even at 17, Arabella possesses an unyielding grit, and a resolve to escape her background of struggle and poverty.
Collis Huntington, railroad baron and self-made multimillionaire, is drawn to Arabella from their first meeting. Collis is married and 30 years her senior, yet they are well-matched in temperament, and flirtation rapidly escalates into an affair. With Collis’s help, Arabella eventually moves to New York, posing as a genteel, well-to-do Southern widow. Using Collis’s seed money and her own shrewd investing instincts, she begins to amass a fortune.
Their relationship is an open secret, and no one is surprised when Collis marries Arabella after his wife’s death. But “The Four Hundred”—the elite circle that includes the Astors and Vanderbilts—have their rules. Arabella must earn her place in Society—not just through her vast wealth, but with taste, style, and impeccable behavior. There are some who suspect the scandalous truth, and will blackmail her for it. And then there is another threat—an unexpected, impossible romance that will test her ambition, her loyalties, and her heart . . .
An American Beauty brings to vivid life the glitter and drama of a captivating chapter in history—and a remarkable woman who lived by her own rules.
Such Good Friends
Reveling in the star-studded parties, fashionable restaurants and gilt-edged inner circles of its most exclusive events, Truman Capote and his flock of glamorous socialite “swans” rule the highest echelons of 1960s and 70s high society New York. Stephen Greco brings this scandalous world to life in a fascinating recreation of the tumultuous friendship between Capote and his most elegant yet unconventional swan: princess and sister of Jackie Kennedy, Her Serene Highness Lee Radziwill.
On a Thursday morning in May 1961, a well-mannered 21-year-old named Marlene enters the Fifth Avenue apartment of Lee Radziwill to interview for the position of housekeeper and cook. The stylish wife of London-based Prince Stanislaw Radziwill, Princess Lee is intelligent and creative, with ambitions beyond simply jet-setting. But to the public, she is always First Lady Jackie Kennedy’s little sister.
As Marlene becomes a trusted presence in the Radziwill household, she observes the dazzling array of famous figures who flit in and out of Lee’s intimate circle, including Gloria Vanderbilt, Rudolf Nureyev, Jackie and the President, Ari Onassis, Gore Vidal, Andy Warhol, and, most regularly, celebrated author Truman Capote. At the height of his fame following the success of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman has granted Lee place of honor in his flock of glamorous socialite “swans.”
Their closeness stems from an unexpected kinship. Both know too well the feeling of being second-best. Seeing his shadow in the woman he refers to as his most unconventional swan, Truman uses his influence and talent to try and make Lee a star.
Their bond deepens through the decade’s extraordinary events, from JFK’s assassination to the era-defining Black and White Ball. But Marlene, who Truman has taken under his wing as an aspiring writer, can see Truman’s darker side—especially his penchant for mining his friends’ private lives for material. And there are betrayals on either side that may signal the end not just of a friendship, but of the shared expectation that wealth and fame can shield against every heartbreak.
"Vintage Library" Candle
The Vintage Library Soy Wax Scented Candle is a rich intoxicating accord reminiscent of an old library, where we experience dry dusty notes of paper & tobacco, hints of soft bergamot & sun sweetened mandarin, onto hints of rock rose, dry black pepper tobacco flower & roasted nutmeg, all supported by sandalwood & oak bookshelves, leather bindings, amber & musk.
Mahogany Page Holder
This book holder helps you to hold the pages in your book wide open for convenient reading with one hand, so you still have a free hand for a coffee, cooking, or traveling. Lightweight, compact, and portable. Works great for both thick and thin books. Simply slide it on your thumb, pick up your favorite book, and start reading! One of the best book lovers' gifts.
Carefully handmade from finest natural African Mahogany by expert artisans. Its smooth texture and ergonomic design will keep your hand comfortable and cramp-free!
For full details, see official rules.
Note: The sweepstakes is open to all legal residents of the 50 United States and Washington, DC who are 18 years of age and older by March 17th, 2023.
Featured image: Evie S./Unsplash