Beautiful Little Fools
“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.
Cantor (Half Life) succeeds brilliantly with this audacious revisionist murder mystery featuring characters from The Great Gatsby. In Fitzgerald's version, it was George Wilson who killed Jay Gatsby. Here, Cantor imagines a woman shooting Gatsby in "heat...anger...and...madness." Three women figure prominently in the narrative. There's "careless, carefree" Daisy Buchanan from Louisville, Ky., who "wanted to be someone who mattered"; her ambitious, sporty childhood best friend, Jordan Baker, who is embroiled in a women's golf circuit scandal; and Catherine McCoy, who leaves the family farm for New York City, where she works for the National Women's League, attends suffrage meetings, and worries about the bruises on her sister. Cantor successfully captures the style and tone of the 1925 novel with vivid details, such as Daisy's "lavish honeymoon in the South Seas"; a life of luxury in Santa Barbara, Calif.; a Cannes chateau; and the ultimate extravagances of East Egg. Also featuring into the story is Det. Frank Charles, who believes everyone he interrogates about Gatsby's death is an "incurable liar." Loneliness, homesickness, and the "forever endless winding river" of grief pursue Daisy as justice is served. Proving once again that it is "hard to forget the past," Cantor's admirably convincing act of literary skullduggery offers many rewards.