The Swans of Fifth Avenue
by Melanie Benjamin and Cassandra Campbell and Paul Boehmer

Overview - "NEW YORK TIMES "BESTSELLER Theauthor of "The Aviator s Wife "returns with a triumphant new novel about New York s Swans of the 1950s and the scandalous, headline-making, and enthralling friendship between literary legend Truman Capote and peerless socialite Babe Paley.  Read more...

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More About The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin; Cassandra Campbell; Paul Boehmer
"NEW YORK TIMES "BESTSELLER Theauthor of "The Aviator s Wife "returns with a triumphant new novel about New York s Swans of the 1950s and the scandalous, headline-making, and enthralling friendship between literary legend Truman Capote and peerless socialite Babe Paley.
"People s "Book of the Week "USA Today s "#1 New and Noteworthy Book "Entertainment Weekly" s Must List "LibraryReads" Top Ten Pick
Of all the glamorous stars of New York high society, none blazes brighter than Babe Paley. Her flawless face regularly graces the pages of "Vogue, "and she is celebrated and adored for her ineffable style and exquisite taste, especially among her friends the alluring socialite Swans Slim Keith, C. Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness, and Pamela Churchill. By all appearances, Babe has it all: money, beauty, glamour, jewels, influential friends, a prestigious husband, and gorgeous homes. But beneath this elegantly composed exterior dwells a passionate woman a woman desperately longing for true love and connection.
Enter Truman Capote. This diminutive golden-haired genius with a larger-than-life personality explodes onto the scene, setting Babe and her circle of Swans aflutter. Through Babe, Truman gains an unlikely entree into the enviable lives of Manhattan s elite, along with unparalleled access to the scandal and gossip of Babe s powerful circle. Sure of the loyalty of the man she calls True Heart, Babe never imagines the destruction Truman will leave in his wake. But once a storyteller, always a storyteller even when the stories aren t his to tell.
Truman s fame is at its peak when such notable celebrities as Frank and Mia Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, and Rose Kennedy converge on his glittering Black and White Ball. But all too soon, he ll ignite a literary scandal whose repercussions echo through the years. "The Swans of Fifth Avenue" will seduce and startle readers as it opens the door onto one of America s most sumptuous eras.
Praise for "The Swans of Fifth Avenue"
Exceptional storytelling . . . teeming with scandal, gossip and excitement. " Harper s Bazaar"
This moving fictionalization brings the whole cast of characters back to vivid life. Gossipy and fun, it s also a nuanced look at the beauty and cruelty of a rarefied, bygone world. "People"
The era and the sordid details come back to life in this jewel of a novel. "O: The Oprah Magazine"
A catty, juicy read that s like a three-martini lunch. "USA Today"
Captures] the mesmerizing sparkle and scandal of New York high society in the 1950s. "Chicago Tribune"
Tantalizing . . . Readers will fall into a world of glitz, glamour and the exciting life of the rich and famous. The details and conversations are so rich, you may forget you're reading a novel. Associated Press
Highly entertaining. "The Washington Post"
Take "Gossip Girl "and move it to the 50s. "theSkimm"
The strange and fascinating relationship between Capote and his swans is wonderfully reimagined in this engrossing novel Sara Gruen, " New York Time"s bestselling author of" Water for Elephants"
Your next must-read book-club selection. Jamie Ford, "New York Times" bestselling author of "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet"

"From the Hardcover edition.""

  • ISBN-13: 9781101922750
  • ISBN-10: 1101922753
  • Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • Publish Date: January 2016
  • Dimensions: 6 x 5.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.5 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Historical - General
Books > Fiction > Biographical
Books > Fiction > Contemporary Women

BookPage Reviews

Audio: The fabric of history

Audiophiles appreciate the entertainment value of listening to all kinds of good books but, every once in a while, an important, sweeping history makes us realize how much we can learn and how immediate and fascinating a well-read audio presentation can make complex, impressively researched ideas. Honestly, I’m not sure I could have read every page of Sven Beckert’s brilliant Empire of Cotton: A Global History, which was named one of the 10 best books of 2015 by the New York Times. But with Jim Frangione’s engaging narration, I didn’t want to miss a minute. Starting in Bronze-Age China and India, Beckert weaves thousands of years of cotton’s history into an intricate panorama of globalization; interconnected economic, social and political systems; and the technological innovations that became the impetus for the Industrial Revolution. With compassion for the misery of those who were forced into the cotton trade, he makes us reconsider the ways in which “cotton capitalism” rests on violence, slavery, the expropriation of land and colonialism.

In the opening scene of Alexander Chee’s lush historical novel, The Queen of the Night, read by Lisa Flanagan, it’s 1882, and Lilliet Berne, a famed soprano whose rare, fragile voice has made her the toast of the Paris opera scene, walks into a ball at the Luxembourg Palace. She’s approached by a handsome stranger who has written a novel that’s to be the basis for a new opera in which she will star. All divas yearn to create a new role, but here’s the rub—it’s the story of Lilliet’s life, a story she’s hidden from the world, save from four people. As she seeks her betrayer, we are treated to a grand operatic epic, from her Minnesota childhood, her escape to Europe as part of a traveling circus, her flight from the circus to the streets of Paris, then to a ritzy brothel, and finally to her emergence as a great singer and courtesan, with all the requisite reversals of fortune, melodrama and gorgeous costumes, gorgeously described.

He called them his “Swans,” and they, the Kenneth-coifed and couture-clothed crème de la crème of New York society, called him their “True Heart.” These well-to-do women brought the charmingly catty, openly gay and overtly campy Truman Capote into their intimate inner circle. Though they were all beautiful and rich, Capote’s favorite was Babe Paley, the exquisite, kind, perfect wife of the larger-than-life, demandingly self-centered founder of CBS. Paley and Capote seemed like soulmates, spending endless hours together, sharing confidences, she revealing all and expecting her secrets to remain secret. In her extraordinary new novel, The Swans of Fifth Avenue, perfectly narrated by Cassandra Campbell and Paul Boehmer, Melanie Benjamin has channeled Capote and, even more expertly, Paley, taking us inside her exquisite homes, into her love for Capote and into his ultimate betrayal of her and her classy clique.


This article was originally published in the May 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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