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Beautiful Little Fools: A Novel (Paperback)
January 2022 Indie Next List
“I love the book and its deliciously vivid characters that retell the Gatsby story. I think it should come with a warning though: Readers Beware: This book is impossible to put down.”
— Susan Lang, Peregrine Book Company, Prescott, AZ
“Jillian Cantor beautifully re-crafts an American classic in Beautiful Little Fools, placing the women of The Great Gatsby center stage: more than merely beautiful, not so little as the men in their lives assume, and certainly far from foolish. Both fresh and familiar, this page-turner is one to savor!” —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Rose Code
“Jillian Cantor’s shifting kaleidoscope of female perspectives makes F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic tale of Jazz Age longing and lust feel utterly modern. A breathtaking accomplishment.”—Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue
USA Today bestselling author Jillian Cantor reimagines and expands on the literary classic The Great Gatsby in this atmospheric historical novel with echoes of Big Little Lies, told in three women’s alternating voices.
On a sultry August day in 1922, Jay Gatsby is shot dead in his West Egg swimming pool. To the police, it appears to be an open-and-shut case of murder/suicide when the body of George Wilson, a local mechanic, is found in the woods nearby.
Then a diamond hairpin is discovered in the bushes by the pool, and three women fall under suspicion. Each holds a key that can unlock the truth to the mysterious life and death of this enigmatic millionaire.
Daisy Buchanan once thought she might marry Gatsby—before her family was torn apart by an unspeakable tragedy that sent her into the arms of the philandering Tom Buchanan.
Jordan Baker, Daisy’s best friend, guards a secret that derailed her promising golf career and threatens to ruin her friendship with Daisy as well.
Catherine McCoy, a suffragette, fights for women’s freedom and independence, and especially for her sister, Myrtle Wilson, who’s trapped in a terrible marriage.
Their stories unfold in the years leading up to that fateful summer of 1922, when all three of their lives are on the brink of unraveling. Each woman is pulled deeper into Jay Gatsby’s romantic obsession, with devastating consequences for all of them.
Jillian Cantor revisits the glittering Jazz Age world of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, retelling this timeless American classic from the women’s perspective. Beautiful Little Fools is a quintessential tale of money and power, marriage and friendship, love and desire, and ultimately the murder of a man tormented by the past and driven by a destructive longing that can never be fulfilled.
About the Author
Jillian Cantor is the author of award-winning and bestselling novels for adults and teens, including In Another Time, The Hours Count, Margot, and The Lost Letter, which was a USA Today bestseller. She has a BA in English from Penn State University and an MFA from the University of Arizona. Cantor lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.
“Jillian Cantor’s shifting kaleidoscope of female perspectives makes F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic tale of Jazz Age longing and lust feel utterly modern. A breathtaking accomplishment.”
— Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue
“In Beautiful Little Fools, Jillian Cantor gorgeously captures the complex lives of the women in The Great Gatsby, creating a delicate and intricate story that dovetails perfectly with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s. It was engrossing to the final page.”
— Jill Santopolo, New York Times Bestselling author of The Light We Lost
"Glittering with intrigue, full of fast-paced tension, and saturated in Jazz Age decadence, this powerful exploration of the women of The Great Gatsby will forever change the way you see the American classic--and perhaps, too, the role of women in all the stories we take for granted."
— Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Vanishing Stars
“This is the untold story we’ve all be waiting for! Lush, beautiful, and dazzling, Jillian Cantor transports readers back to an era of hot summer nights, jazz music, and lounging poolside at one of Jay Gatsby’s infamous parties. This book is an instant classic.”
— Shea Ernshaw, New York Times bestselling author of A History of Wild Places
“Jillian Cantor beautifully re-crafts an American classic in Beautiful Little Fools, placing the women of The Great Gatsby center stage: more than merely beautiful, not so little as the men in their lives assume, and certainly far from foolish. Both fresh and familiar, this page-turner is one to savor!”
— Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Rose Code
"Both heartbreaking and satisfying, Cantor's gorgeous reimagining of Fitzgerald's classic novel gives each of its female characters the depth she deserves, by placing the women center stage. Jordan Baker and Daisy Buchanan shine as they navigate a gin-soaked summer rife with the dangers of male egos struggling for power. I could not stop turning the pages as I rooted for each of these women, balancing the tightrope of societal expectations while daring to dream. Jillian Cantor is a sparkling talent in the genre of historical fiction."
— Meredith Jaeger, USA bestselling author of The Pilot's Daughter
"Cantor succeeds brilliantly with this audacious revisionist murder mystery featuring characters from The Great Gatsby. . . . Cantor successfully captures the style and tone of the 1925 novel with vivid details. . . . Proving once again that it is 'hard to forget the past,' Cantor’s admirably convincing act of literary skullduggery offers many rewards."
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“This Gatsby retelling reveals more about the women in the story by casting them as humans, not decorative baubles. Cantor asks and answers: Who were the real fools in Gatsby’s world?”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Unlike the original destructive, self-absorbed characters and the pervasive issue of class, Cantor focuses instead on portraying Daisy and her fellow females in a sympathetic light, reimagining and empowering them to speak to readers with a feminist bent.”
"The story of The Great Gatsby is reimagined and retold by three of the novel's women, Daisy Buchanan, Jordan Baker, and Catherine McCoy in this sharp, compelling recasting of the classic."
— Town & Country (Must-Read Books of Winter 2022)