The Swans of Fifth Avenue (Hardcover)
Virgie's Holiday Staff Pick, December 2015:
For the historical fiction fan.
The literary scandal of the century is disclosed in this historical fiction, which takes place during the 60’s and 70’s. The story is based on the life of the flamboyant novelist Truman Capote, (author of In Cold Blood) and his groupies, New York’s wealthy women, (a.k.a his Swans).
This tragic story, based on well-researched facts, is intriguing!
Recommended by Virgie: The literary scandal of the century is disclosed in this historical fiction, which takes place during the 60’s and 70’s. The story is based on the life of the flamboyant novelist Truman Capote, (author of In Cold Blood) and his “groupies,” New York’s wealthy women (his Swans). This tragic story, based on well researched facts, is intriguing!— From January 2016 Staff Picks
The literary scandal of the century is disclosed in this historical novel, which takes place during the ’50s and ’60s, amid the lives of the New York high society rich and famous. Prepare to be ushered into the world of fashionista lifestyles and hobnob with celebrities from all walks of life.
"The Swans of Fifth Avenue" by Melanie Benjamin
Though many famous characters appear in this book, the story is based on the life of the flamboyant novelist Truman Capote, author of “In Cold Blood,” and his select group of New York’s wealthy women, his “swans.”
Capote weasels his way into the lives of his swans, who eventually adopt him as their own little “pet.” Capote learns all their secrets as he listens in on the swans’ gossip sessions. He then betrays their confidences and friendships by exposing their intimate secrets in a popular magazine.
Though Capote is purportedly gay, his only love is Babe Paley, the “original trophy wife,” married to the founder of CBS. Although, at first glance, Capote and Babe appear an unlikely couple, it becomes clear that both characters are lonely, damaged souls who find comfort in sharing their stories and secrets.
It is apparent that, even the wealthiest, most glamorous superstars can feel like motherless children.
This is a tragic story, based on well-researched facts. By the end of this novel, I truly cared for the devastated women, as well as Capote. The novel kept me engaged long after I finished reading. I found myself wondering: Did Truman Capote betray the swans or did they betray him?— From Book review: "The Swans of Fifth Avenue" by Melanie Benjamin
February 2016 Indie Next List
“Are you interested in the lifestyles of the rich and famous? Arrange your hair and makeup, darlings, and get ready to dish about the dirty little secrets in 1950s high society. Truman Capote collected 'swans' -- rich and glamorous women who floated through life pampered and indulged. This fictionalized account of the meteoric rise and very public fall of Capote, entwined with his deep friendship with Babe Paley and his ultimate betrayal of her and the rest of the swans, will slake your thirst for gossipy, breezy, scandalous details. Take off your wrap, pour a highball, and enjoy!”
— Cindy Pauldine (W), The River's End Bookstore, Oswego, NY
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - The author 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 Times 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
About the Author
Melanie Benjamin is the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator's Wife, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb, and Alice I Have Been. Benjamin lives in Chicago, where she is at work on her next historical novel.