How Beautiful They Were

Boston Teran. High Top, $22 (304p) ISBN 978-1-56703-065-5
The pseudonymous Teran’s stellar conclusion to his Defiant Americans series (after 2018’s A Child Went Forth) centers on the world of American theater before the Civil War. In 1848, London actor Nathaniel Luck, who’s under suspicion of murder, flees to New York City to start a new life. A letter of introduction from a London friend to relatives in New York leads Nathaniel to playwright Robert Harrison, the scion of a wealthy family, and together they form Colonel Tearwood’s American Theatre Company, whose first production is The Monster, an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Over the years, Luck and Harrison produce plays as revolutionary, controversial, and volatile as the times in which they are performed. The diverse characters include criminals, socialites, immigrants, abolitionists, slaves, and, of course, actors, who interact in a complex tale of passion, desire, and loss. The prose can be blunt at times, but just as often poetic and insightful (“That is what is so wonderful about actors—they are always ready and willing to climb over your grave for a good cause”). Teran sheds light on a turbulent, tipping point of American history, but it is the human stories—intimate, real, and heartfelt—that form the book’s core. Readers will be captivated to the final page. Agent: Natasha Kern, Natasha Kern Literary. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/26/2019
Release date: 10/15/2019
Genre: Fiction
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