Monday, April 13, 2020

Death of an American Beauty by Mariah Fredericks

I’m delighted today to tell you about author Mariah Fredericks’ next installment in her riveting Jane Prescott series, DEATH OF AN AMERICAN BEAUTY (on sale April 14th) where lady’s maid Jane is taking a break from her duties to attend the hottest and most scandalous show in town.

History has the best stories and Mariah does a remarkable job bringing the Gilded Age back to life while bringing a deadly mystery and new romance into the mix. I invite you to feel the fabrics, smell the streets, and fall into the atmosphere of one of the most anxious times in history, 1920’s New York City.

Mariah once again creates an enticing mystery by bringing her readers into both the luscious world of wealthy social elite as well as revealing the harsh realities of “downstairs” servants: social change, political turmoil and gender roles are expertly and piercingly examined through relatable characters and a compelling mystery. (Perfect for those who love Downtown Abbey or The Crown!)

Now here’s a brief synopsis of the story.

Death of an American Beauty is the third in Mariah's compelling series, set in Gilded Age New York, featuring Jane Prescott.

Jane Prescott is taking a break from her duties as lady’s maid for a week, and plans to begin it with attending the hottest and most scandalous show in town: the opening of an art exhibition, showcasing the cubists, that is shocking New York City.
1913 is also the fiftieth anniversary of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation speech, and the city's great and good are determined to celebrate in style. Dolly Rutherford, heiress to the glamorous Rutherford’s department store empire, has gathered her coterie of society ladies to put on a play—with Jane’s employer Louise Tyler in the starring role as Lincoln himself. Jane is torn between helping the ladies with their costumes and enjoying her holiday. But fate decides she will do neither, when a woman is found murdered outside Jane’s childhood home—a refuge for women run by her uncle.
Deeply troubled as her uncle falls under suspicion and haunted by memories of a woman she once knew, Jane—with the help of old friends and new acquaintances, reporter Michael Behan and music hall pianist Leo Hirschfeld—is determined to discover who is making death into their own twisted art form.

DEATH OF AN AMERICAN BEAUTY is available through the following sites:

Now for your entertainment, here’s an excerpt from this tantalizing story.

The Princess of Wales has had a son.
       Beyond that, I’m not sure.
My eyesight is not bad for someone of my age, but by any other measure, it is not good. Reading the newspaper has become a challenge. My glasses must be fixed at a precise point, the light sufficient, and the room quiet because I cannot read the words if I cannot hear them in my head. My daughter says this makes no sense, but they’re my eyes and it’s my head.
Raising the paper, I peer at the print, which I swear t they’ve made smaller. The young man who shot the president has been found not guilty because he is insane. Apparently, the would-be assassin wished to impress a famous young woman. I think of all the things one might do to impress such a woman. Killing the president is not one of them.
The same thought occurred to the jury; they found the young man’s reasoning so flawed, they decided it constituted insanity. They must have felt he was sincere; I might have thought he was lying. That he tried to kill the president not because he wanted a young woman to think well of him, but because he wanted to think well of himself. If he found it splendid to kill, she would also find it splendid and reward him.
Perhaps if the prosecutor had pointed out this level of self- interest to the jury, they might have told the young man and  others like him that you cannot kill  because you have come up with stories about w omen that are not true. No matter how alluring   those stories might be. Helen of Troy was prob ably an ordinary- looking woman who had gotten bored with her husband and vice versa. But would we remember the heroes of the Trojan War if the Greeks w ere simply land- hungry? No, much better to say it was the face that launched a thousand ships. A woman’s face.
I won der if this jury would have declared Achilles insane. Or if they might have understood that he had a compulsion to kill and Helen’s face was simply the excuse.
Or maybe the Greeks disliked that she ran away. A woman at liberty— that could be provocation enough.
I feel a curl of unease, a memory unfolding. A face.
For a moment I can’t breathe. Even after all these years, I can feel the vicious grip of those hands on my neck.  There are days when I feel unsteady. I feel it now. A sense of falling, flailing . . .
I hold my head at the correct angle. Try to focus on the newspaper. The princess. The young man. But still I see that other face.
A woman’s face. Taken apart. Put back together.
And the scars, so many years later.

Author Mariah Fredericks
For those not familiar with the author, here’s a bit of background on her.

Mariah Fredericks was born and raised in New York City, where she still lives with her family. She is the author of several YA novels. Death of an American Beauty is her third novel to feature ladies' maid Jane Prescott.

For more on Mariah and her writing, contact with her at the following sites:
Twitter: @MariahFrederick

Thanks so much for stopping by today. What is it about the Gilded Age that draws us in so quickly?


  1. Not a series I know - and it looks intriguing. Thank you (and drat you as always) for introducing me to the author and series.

  2. I'm not familiar with the series, but it sounds delicious!

  3. The end of the war and during the Roaring 20's - and in New York! Quite the setting.

  4. This does sound interesting, Mason! I like a well-written historical novel, and this one takes place at such an interesting time. Thanks for sharing!

  5. The insanity plea is always a cop out.

  6. New York is a hotbed of intrigue. The year I flew to Alaska I also had the choice to go to New York. I sometimes wonder what my writing had been like if I had flown there instead?! Love historical books. This one sounds great! Good luck, Mariah!

  7. This sounds like a fascinating story! I love historical books and this sounds like a really good one.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.