Review by Gayle Pace of The Beautiful American by Marilyn Holdsworth

4.0 out of 5 stars TWO WOVEN TALES, January 11, 2014
By gayle pace “May A Rainbow Shine Down On You!” (Missouri) – See all my reviews
This review is from: The Beautiful American (Paperback)
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 Jasmine 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.

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