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Wednesday’s Review ~ Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck

Cover of Fallen Beauty
Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck

Published by: New American Library

Published on: March 4, 2014

Page Count: 384

Genre: Historical Fiction

My Reading Format: ARC sent to me by the publisher in order for me to participate in Erika’s blog tour.

Available Formats: Paperback and eBook

Giveaway! Thanks to the publisher, I am able to offer one lucky reader a copy of Fallen Beauty. If you’d like to be entered in my contest, leave a comment here telling me whether your favorite characters in Historical Fiction tend to be famous historical figures or the purely literary characters in their lives. I’ll use Random.org to select the lucky winner on Thursday, March 6th. Good luck!

Tour Spotlight from the Publisher:

Erika Robuck, critically acclaimed author of Hemingway’s Girl and Call Me Zelda, returns with another fascinating novel featuring a literary figure… this time, charismatic 1930s poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay.

In Fallen Beauty (NAL Trade Paperback; 978-0-451-41890-6; March 4, 2014; $16), Robuck presents vivid new characters while portraying a beautifully eccentric Edna St. Vincent Millay, around whom an electrifying tale unfolds, where the fast pace of the jazz age collides with life in a small, judgmental town.

In the tradition of The Paris Wife and The Aviator’s Wife, Fallen Beauty is a poignant page-turner comprised of fascinating pieces of history immersed in a beautifully written narrative. Robuck captures the radiance and charisma of Edna St. Vincent Millay, the fragility and power of family loyalty, and the ultimate, all-encompassing passion of love in its many forms.

Erika Robuck has appeared on the Southern Independent Bestseller List for Call Me Zelda and is the critically acclaimed author of Hemingway’s Girl. Born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland, Erika was inspired by the cobblestones and old churches. She is a contributor to the popular fiction blog, Writer Unboxed, and maintains her own historical fiction blog called Muse. For more information please visit www.erikarobuck.com, and Twitter @ErikaRobuck.

FALLEN BEAUTY blog tour banner

My Review

In a small New York town in the late 1920s, 19 year old Laura Kelley steals away from father’s home in a handmade gold flapper dress and jeweled headband with her forbidden boyfriend ready to have the night of her life as she attends a Ziegfeld Follies show for the first time. High on a mountain above Laura’s sleepy home town, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay is living at Steepletop with her Dutch husband, Eugen. She’s beginning to feel her age and is worried that words are leaving her. Eugen knows that she just needs to discover a new passion, something her open marriage not only allows but encourages. Both women are looking for something elusive and the consequences of their choices have far reaching impacts that ultimately bring their lives together.

Each time I pick up one of Erika Robuck’s novels I love her for her gifts that much more. Hemingway’s Girl kept me up reading late at night. Call Me Zelda hit me close to home in unexpected ways. Fallen Beauty was like a perfect combination of them both. While it seems that I’ve been living in a six month long reading slump, I kept reading Laura and Vincent’s story long after I have typically been growing restless. As I finished the book, I stopped listening to my current audiobook in the car so that I could cram precious paragraphs in at stop lights. As much as I didn’t want it to end, I had to know what happened.

Erika Robuck_Photo Credit Catsh Photography LLC (2)With her writing, Robuck makes the famous historical figures in her novels flesh and blood. Especially with Millay, the poetry of her prose framed the poet’s state of mind expertly. I was finish her section in each chapter feeling caught up in whatever Millay’s free spirit had been manifesting. The key to Robuck’s magic is that she goes beyond the famous historical figure. She pairs him or her with another character who may seem smaller and certainly less significant to the world and gives that character center stage. In this way, she creates a fuller, more complete world. In them Erika Robuck creates literary characters I consider my friends.

I picked up Fallen Beauty entirely conscious of today’s deadline. That pressure flew off my shoulders during the first chapter. Robuck’s writing and storytelling are smooth, gentle, and enticing. Before I laid my head on my pillow that first night, I was anticipating Erika Robuck’s next novel. She’s just that kind of author. Now that I’ve finished Fallen Beauty, I encourage you to read it for yourselves because I know how good it will make you feel as you turn those last pages. Then we can wait impatiently together for what comes next.

Erika’s Tour Dates

You’ve read what I have to say. Check out the other blogs hosting Erika Robuck on her Fallen Beauty Blog Tour. You’ll have an additional chance to win a copy at each stop along the way.

February 17

A Patchwork of Books
Maurice On Books

February 18

Jenn’s Bookshelves
Burton Book Review
Leah’s Thoughts

February 19

Great New Books

February 20

Chick Lit Plus
Girls Just Reading

February 21

Book Dilettante
Chefdruck: French
Bookfoolery

February 22  *Millay’s Birthday* 

BookNAround
Entertainment Realm
Two Classy Chics

February 24

Laura’s Review Bookshelf
Crystal Book Reviews

February 25

Literally Jen
Confessions of a Book Addict

February 26 

LitChat

February 27

Anita Loves Books
To Read or Not To Read
Kayla’s Reads and Reviews

February 28

Silver’s Reviews
A Novel Review
The Write Teacher(s)

March 3

Alison’s Book Marks

March 4 *Book Birthday*

Biblio File
Sincerely Stacie
Minding Spot
Bookalicious Mama

March 5

Teresa’s Reading Corner
Book Addict Katie
So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

March 6

Entomology of a Bookworm
Steph The Bookworm
Kritters Ramblings

March 7

My 5 Monkeys
Traveling With T

10 Comments

  • At 2014.02.26 08:13, Tess said:

    I tend to like my historical fiction to be based on famous (or infamous figures). For me, it fleshs out the story in a way that some completely fictional characters cannot. I’ve always loved learning about history, so even after reading a fictitious novel about the Borgia siblings, I immediately dove into they’re actual place in history. Totally fascinating.

    • At 2014.02.26 08:15, C. Huber said:

      Generally I prefer the Historical character in a book, rather than the purely fictional characters that might be surrounding them. I guess it is because I always enjoy doing other research on the historical character while reading the book…looking up photos online, other books written involving the person, etc.

      • At 2014.02.26 09:26, Beth Hoffman said:

        Erika is a wonderfully talented writer, I could read her prose all day. I can’t wait for my pre-ordered copy of “Fallen Beauty” to arrive!

        • At 2014.02.26 09:28, Elizabeth Bevins said:

          I tend to like historical fiction based on real historic characters or events. I love the fun of imagining the details of their lives.

          • At 2014.02.26 09:56, Laurie Mullins said:

            I like both! Sometimes it’s fun to read about real historical figures and their adventures. Then you can go online or in non fiction books to flesh out the real from the embellished. But sometimes I want to get lost in a true historical fiction and read about some dynamic made up characters!

            • At 2014.02.26 11:00, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

              I’m glad to see you liked this so much! No need to enter me, I’m going to an event for Erika in March and will buy the book then.

              Read more from bermudaonion (Kathy)

              Review: Snoop Troop

              When the merry-go-round at the amusement park and some of the playground equipment at the school disappear, fourth grader Logan Lang springs into action; she is a detective after all.  Classmate Gust[...]

              • At 2014.02.26 16:06, Suzy said:

                I am so excited about Erika’s new book. The cover is absolutely stunning!

                • At 2014.02.26 20:47, Kailana said:

                  I am really hoping to read this at some point. The reviews I have seen lately have me very intrigued! (Is this actually open outside the U.S.? I really don’t see that much any more! I like both. There are historical figures that I love to seek out books about, but then I also read ‘fictional’ accounts, too. They both have their potential!)

                  • At 2014.03.01 22:23, Sabrina Bedlington Lopes said:

                    I say literary, firmly. The connection to their thoughts, feelings, hearts, and minds is deepened far more in pages between covers vs. what’s made it in their 15 minutes of fame.

                    • At 2014.03.02 06:37, Donna Michael said:

                      I prefer to read about literary characters. I get real enjoyment out of the author’s creativity in developing the characters and plots. Some of these can be totally outlandish but that can be the fun of reading books at times when you really want to lose yourself from the stresses of day to day living. When the plots and/or characters have more of a reality bent, then your own imagination kicks in!

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