February 1, 2022
Jillian Cantor
Historical Fiction
Paperback, 368 pages
“Cantor succeeds brilliantly with this audacious revisionist murder mystery featuring characters from The Great Gatsby. . .”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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.

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 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.

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. 
Dear Reader:

I’ve long been a fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, but as a reader, I’ve always wanted to know more about the women in the novel, certain they had their own stories to tell, too. In The Great Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan says that the best thing a woman can be is a “beautiful little fool,” but I always felt sure that neither she nor her friend, Jordan Baker, were fools. In my novel, Beautiful Little Fools, I set out to explore just that, as I reimagine the world F. Scott Fitzgerald first created, but this time, from the women’s points of view. 

My novel is narrated by Daisy Buchanan, Jordan Baker, and Myrtle Wilson’s sister, Catherine, as well as a detective hired to investigate Jay Gatsby’s death, who is certainly one of these women who were involved. Beautiful Little Fools unfolds as part mystery, part retelling, and part historical novel detailing the lives of women at the time. Though it could be read as a companion to The Great Gatsby, it can also be read alone because ultimately it’s an exploration of the interior lives of women, their struggles, their triumphs, and most of all, their secrets.

I hope you will enjoy reading about the women of The Great Gatsby as much I enjoyed writing about them!

All my best,

Jillian Cantor
Book Club Menu and Recipes
The characters in The Great Gatsby and Beautiful Little Fools don't seem to eat much, they sure do drink! Every dinner and every party and every bit of drama is fueled by prohibition-era cocktails. In my novel, Jordan is never without her gin and tonic, and Catherine and Myrtle love their gin rickeys. Daisy doesn’t drink much, but the few times she does, it certainly complicates things for her. 

But every party must have hors d’oeuvres, too, so my suggested menu for Beautiful Little Fools features some that were popular in the 1920s. Enjoy some decadent finger foods along with a gin cocktail or a glass of champagne, and experience all the glitz and glamour of the Roaring 20s like Daisy, Jordan, and Catherine. 

-Jillian Cantor
*1920s Cocktails: Gin and Tonic or Gin Rickey
*Deviled eggs
*Shrimp cocktail (or grilled oysters)
*Cheese platter and mixed nuts
*Tea sandwiches 

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