The New York Times bestselling author of The Library of Light and Shadow crafts “an enchanting glimpse of Jazz Age New York” (Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train) about a young painter whose traumatic past threatens to derail her career at a prestigious summer artists’ colony run by Louis Comfort Tiffany of Tiffany & Co. fame.
New York, 1924: Twenty‑four‑year‑old Jenny Bell is one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid all distractions and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall.
But Jenny’s past has followed her there. Images of her beloved mother, her hard-hearted stepfather, murder, and the dank hallways of Canada’s notorious Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women overwhelm Jenny’s thoughts, even as she is inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson.
As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone else knows about Jenny’s childhood trauma.
Supported by her closest friend Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite yet dedicated sculptor, and Oliver, Jenny pushes her demons aside. Between stolen kisses and jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment, that will threaten her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life.
“This fast-paced mystery, star-crossed romance, and love letter to Louis Comfort Tiffany will captivate Rose’s many fans and readers of 20th-century historical fiction” (Library Journal, starred review).
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author M. J. Rose grew up in New York City exploring the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum and the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park. She is the author of more than a dozen novels, a founding board member of International Thriller Writers, and the founder of the first marketing company for authors, AuthorBuzz.com. She lives in Connecticut. Visit her online at MJRose.com.
Read an Excerpt
March 20, 1924
New York, New York
I hadn’t expected to find a waterfall in the middle of Central Park. Even there, so far away from home and the scene of the tragedy, the rushing water that pounded on the rocks made me shudder. The waterfalls in Ithaca and in Hamilton had been powerful, beautiful forces of nature, but I’d grown to hate them.
“Jenny, certainly this early-spring scenery is going to inspire you to use some color,” Minx said, as we set up our easels.
A dozen of us from Professor Robert Pannell’s class at the Art Students League of New York had scattered around the pond, preparing to spend the afternoon painting en plein air in the tradition of the impressionists. We’d walked from the school on West Fifty-seventh Street north into the park and then continued along manicured pathways into this untamed, romantic area.
“Your assignment is not to paint what you see but what you feel. Paint the atmosphere,” Professor Pannell instructed. He always pushed us to go beyond convention.
After a half hour, I was still struggling to get something worthwhile down on my canvas. The ceaseless noise of the water falling distracted me and made me anxious.
“So you’re not going to use even a little bit of color?” Minx coaxed me. Christened “Millicent,” she’d come by her nickname honestly. She had been a hellion growing up—bold, flirtatious, and cunning, much to her parents’ chagrin—but she was just beguiling enough to get away with it.
I forced a small smile but didn’t proffer an actual answer. I didn’t need to. She hadn’t really been asking for one but was rather expressing her never-ending surprise at how uninspired I was by the things that moved her so much.
“I know you are fascinated by the shapes of the trees and the negative spaces and patterns they create, but there are colors out there, Jenny. Look at the colors. Winter evergreens and spring’s very first buds.”
Minx had been questioning my reluctance to use color for months and knew that nothing—not spring or fall or flowers or fabrics—would inspire me. Despite my unchanging black, white, and gray palette, she believed she could help and refused to give up trying. I loved her for that and for her generosity.
She was the daughter of the Deerings, a wealthy shipping scion and a socialite whose fabled family had helped found the Bank of New York. Her parents, Eli and Emily, had spoiled her, and in return, Minx spoiled her friends. All her life, she’d witnessed her father showing his love and his remorse with gifts; for her, then, expressing love meant showering people with her largesse. And as her best friend and flatmate, I was often on the receiving end of her generosity.
Minx’s family was wealthy and worldly. She’d grown up in a mansion on Sixty-second Street and Madison Avenue in New York City. The first time she took me home with her for dinner, I’d been awed. Yes, I’d seen opulence in museums, theaters, and government buildings but never in a home where people lived.
The Deerings were also serious art collectors with eclectic tastes. The walls of their mansion were crowded with Renoirs, Manets, Monets, Rembrandts, Titians, and Renaissance drawings. There was even a Leonardo da Vinci sketch done in sepia chalk. Marble stands showcased seventeenth- and eighteenth-century bronzes. Mantels were crowded with bejeweled bibelots from Fabergé, Cartier, and Tiffany. Plants were potted only in majolica. Sofas and chairs upholstered only in silk and damask. There was not a corner that didn’t hold a treasure, not a wall that didn’t showcase a masterpiece.
“Miss Deering, are you painting your canvas or Miss Bell’s?” Professor Pannell called out.
Minx rolled her eyes at me, and as she returned to her own canvas, she picked a sprig of holly and tucked it behind her ear. In the sun, the leaves gleamed like jade.
Even there in the park in painting clothes, Minx was distracting. She never walked into a room without eyes turning. Everything about her gleamed, from her bobbed helmet of blond hair to her couture clothes in the palest shades of beige, pink, champagne, topaz, and citrine.
Like Minx, my hair was bobbed. But unlike hers, mine never agreed to lie flat and exploded in a profusion of curls that fell over my forehead. It made me look bohemian and mussed, whereas her smooth helmet of gold made her look chic and coiffed.
When Minx moved, the silks and satins glowed like liquid candlelight. Her deep brown-red lipstick blazed. Even her perfume shimmered: Ombré Rose from the House of L’Etoile in France. It contained minuscule flecks of gold, and sometimes you’d catch a glimmer where she’d applied the spicy, rich scent.
Despite all her dressing up and embellishments, I always saw the frantic light behind Minx’s electric green eyes, her longing for something she couldn’t name and didn’t know how to satisfy. Gifted as both painter and sculptor, she was trying to find that something in art. And when she wasn’t in the studio, she was trying to find it in too many glasses of champagne or in bed with men she never knew well enough. Like so many of our generation, even if we hadn’t been at the front, we were shell-shocked in the aftermath of the war, and someone like Minx tried to chase away the sadness and loss with whatever it took—drink, drugs, frivolous theater, literature, music, forced gaiety, or a lot of sex.
After another half hour, I glanced over at Minx’s canvas. She’d captured the charm and romance of the glen perfectly. We were in a section of the park called the Rambles, a particularly lush area that Frederick Law Olmsted had created to resemble natural woods. After the waterfall rushed over the rocks, it spilled into a pond surrounded by bushes and trees in configurations that didn’t look man-made but indeed were.
During the three-hour period we were in the park, Professor Pannell strolled among us, examining our work, critiquing in his notoriously staccato sentences, and gesturing ferociously with his arms. He always carried his own paintbrush, which he often dipped into our palettes—without apology—to correct mistakes on our canvases.
He approached Minx and studied her work in progress.
“Lazy, lazy. You can do better. You are better. But this—” He broke off and threw up his arms.
He was tougher on her than the rest of us because—as he often repeated—she had more promise than most. And he made sure he said it loudly so we could all hear him. He believed in playing us against one another, a habit that didn’t endear him to many students. Yet he was one of the most popular teachers at the League, because once you got over the shock of his methods, you could learn so much from the brushstrokes he applied to your canvas.
“More depth, Miss Deering,” he said, as he dabbed his brush into the white oil paint and, with just two or three strokes, created the illusion of deeper space on the two-dimensional surface of her painting.
Leaving Minx, he stopped beside Edward Wren. Though not tall, Edward vibrated with energy. He had chestnut hair, a high forehead, and hooded hazel eyes. He had been at the League longer than Minx or I had. And while he’d taken several classes with Minx before, this was the first time the three of us were in a class together. As of late, I’d noticed Edward and Minx exchanging glances, and at home she mentioned him often. This surprised me. With his working-class aspect, Edward had neither the grace of the high-society gentlemen Minx had grown up with nor the aesthetic of the bohemian artists we spent time with. Yes, many were rebels devoted to their art, but few had scars on their cheeks or knuckles. Yet Edward did. At thirty-one, he was older and gruffer and not as polite as the other men in our set. At times, he could seem aloof or distant, as if something were preying on his mind. I knew virtually nothing about him except what I saw in his paintings—a powerful and raw talent often ruined by his impatience to invest the necessary time in finishing them. Even so, his canvases always exuded an exciting crudeness that made everyone take notice. Perhaps that rawness was why he reminded me of boys I had grown up with in Hamilton, Ontario. The sons of steel-factory workers and railroad men. The boys my mother had taught, hoping she might discover a budding artist in their midst.
Having finished critiquing Edward, Professor Pannell came to stand behind me. He hadn’t yet been satisfied with anything I’d done in his class, and judging from his groan as he examined my interpretation of the pond, nothing had changed.
“Miss Bell, is that how you feel looking at the scenery?”
“Then, Miss Bell, look harder. Examine Miss Deering’s work. Note the colors she’s used. Even with the lack of dimension in her rocks, pay attention to the feelings she’s expressed. Don’t you realize that your determination to stick to your colorless palette restricts you? Why are you handicapping your efforts?”
I looked from my best friend’s canvas back to my own. We’d both painted the same scene, but where she saw spring greening the copse to life, I saw a forest out of a Grimms’ fairy tale. Woods no little girl would want to enter willingly, a foreboding waterfall from which to flee.
“Miss Bell,” Professor Pannell instructed, “look at this scene, this day, this sunshine and spring. Paint how this makes you feel.” He then proceeded to inspect the next student’s work.
I glanced from my painting to the waterfall, pond, trees, and grass. Back to the painting. Back to the rushing water. Back to the painting. Back to the rushing water. Of course, I could see the colors, but they weren’t my focus. They were a distraction from my subject. I used a monochromatic palette because I wanted to capture light, to show how it illuminated the water and shadowed the trees. I wanted to master chiaroscuro. DaVinci, Rembrandt, and Caravaggio all knew that what we see is a result of light falling against it. It’s the light that matters. Without it, there would be no subject. But light was so elusive. If I could just capture that simple bit of—
Suddenly, I saw a flash of blue tumbling over the edge of the waterfall. It was clothing. Child-size.
Then a woman’s high-pitched voice called out: “Jeffrey!”
“It’s a child in the falls!” I cried, as I dropped my brush and my palette and ran. The water was so powerful. A child who fell in would be caught in the current of the rushing cascade. His little body would be thrown against the rocks. Unless someone reached him quickly, he might drown.
I reached the edge of the pond. I didn’t know how deep the water was, but that didn’t matter. If a child was in danger, if there was a life to save, I had to attempt it.
“Jeffrey, you bad boy. Look at that, your jacket is all wet!”
The voice expressed exasperation, but no panic.
I circled around to see a woman tugging a well-groomed Maltese on a light green leather leash. She approached the edge of the pond and looked down at the errant piece of clothing.
“Jeffrey!” she called. “Come out here and see what you did!”
With that, a little boy, about seven or eight, emerged from the woods. He stood beside her, scuffing his shoe in the dirt and looking sheepishly from the floating jacket to his mother. And then he leaned over and started to reach toward the jacket.
“No, Jeffrey! Don’t. You could fall, and then you’d be all wet, too. Let’s find a stick and drag it in.” Before she moved away, she looked at me. “Thank you,” she said.
I nodded at her and took a deep breath. Although the boy was clearly fine, my heart continued racing as I returned to my easel. I’d seen the jacket and jumped to the conclusion that a child was drowning. My vision was warped, you see. Damaged by what I had endured as a girl. By now, at age twenty-four, I had long viewed the world through one particular lens, taking in what was there and pulling out the color so I could focus on the light and how it fell and created highlights. How shadows created depth. And in the process, I never failed to notice the potential for catastrophe and heartache.
I couldn’t help it any more than Minx, who looked at the world through her own starry eyes—and saw only beauty.
Reading Group Guide
This reading group guide for Tiffany Blues includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
New York, 1924. Twenty‑four‑year‑old Jenny Bell is one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists colony. Supported by her closest friend, Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite who is nevertheless a dedicated sculptor, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and romantic entanglements and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall.
But Jenny’s past has followed her to Long Island. Images of her beloved mother, her hard-hearted stepfather—and the shocking tale of murder that connects them—threaten to overwhelm Jenny’s thoughts, and despite her efforts to the contrary, she is inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson.
As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone knows enough about Jenny’s childhood trauma to expose her. Between stolen kisses and stolen jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment that will threaten her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. In the prologue, how does Jenny feel when she sees Laurelton Hall in ruins? What memories does she associate with the estate?
2. Describe Minx and Jenny’s relationship and their similarities and differences in both personality and art.
3. How does New York’s culture and society in 1924 influence the arts?
4. What is Jenny’s reaction when she realizes Minx sold her drawing to the New York Herald Tribune? Why? How would you feel in her shoes?
5. Discuss Ben and Jenny’s thoughts about beauty on page 45. With whom do you agree?
6. Why do you think Minx’s mother tells Jenny about her daughter’s past? Describe Jenny’s reaction to these revelations. Does Minx’s past affect your reading of her character?
7. Mr. Tiffany says to Jenny, “You’re wounded and need to heal. The business of living can steal away the wonder of life. One man’s ugliness can blind another to the world’s magic” (page 136). How does his wisdom impact Jenny?
8. When Ben writes to Jenny asking her to share her secrets (page 144), why does she refuse? How do you feel about this decision?
9. Why doesn’t Jenny immediately confront Minx when she notices her and Edward’s strange behaviors?
10. What does Oliver do to convince Jenny to use colors again? Describe this moment.
11. How does Edward fit into Jenny’s past? Were you surprised by the revelation?
12. What kind of life does Jenny lead after leaving Laurelton Hall? How does she change from beginning to end? Would you say that she found a happy ending? Discuss.
Enhance Your Book Club
1. To learn more about the real-life Louis Comfort Tiffany and his works, visit the Morse Museum in Florida.
2. “Why are some people so committed to recreating the world around them, to synthesizing their surroundings and remaking them in their own vision? And others take the world at face value and are satisfied?” (page 69). Discuss your answers to this question.
3. Enroll in an art class with your fellow members. Draw or paint something with colors, then without colors.
4. “There is beauty even in broken things. That through the cracks, light still shines” (page 304). Do you agree with this statement?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Laurelton Hall was an artist’s colony created by Louis Comfort Tiffany in the 1920’s, and this story revolves around a fictional account of one of the dozen or so artists invited to the colony to create, share and improve their skills. Jenny Bell, a young artist with a troubled and mysterious past has talent, skill, determination and plenty of focus, hoping to save money to go to Paris to learn more. She’s also wanting to avoid the “publicity’ end of the artist’s life, preferring anonymity to fame as she works her way through each new project. A person who hears in color yet paints in black and grey, she is the cornerstone of the story. Her roommate Minx, is a wealthy socialite and a talented painter and sculptor. Her own connections have brought her notice, and it is her submission of Jenny’s work that gets them both to Laurelton. Oliver is LCT’s grandson, and enamored with Jenny. She’s trying to focus on her work and learning, but the intrigue of Oliver, and her developing attraction also lead her to share more of her past with him than anyone before. None of her early life was as easy as Oliver’s or Minx’s, and her tormentor, and the reason she seeks to stay in the shadows is omnipresent. While Oliver represents a new opportunity, and the chance for all of us to understand her attitude toward fame, it also means that in his position (and power) with that family name, even while keeping her safe, also creates a divide in their relationship that will not allow a future of equals. Intriguing after a considerably slow start, it takes some time for the characters, or the beauty of Rose’s descriptions and settings start to engage. It’s also important to note that the book truly seems to shift focus as it progresses – early on (and in the slow-go background information) the book feels very much like a more traditional historic fiction, soon to focus more on the romance between Jenny and Oliver, and then as that is establishing itself, the mystery and challenges come into play. I don’t know if a clearer composition of the three elements, where they didn’t feel quite so distinct would have improved or mired the flow, but it does bear mentioning that I felt it also ‘read’ differently – slower at the beginning to rushing through to the end and solution of the mystery. An intriguing and beautifully described title, it was an interesting read and one that encourages me to discover more about Laurelton Hall and the artists who spent time there. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
What I really liked from this book was how different it felt from other things I have read. The writing was incredibly enchanting and just wonderfully enjoyable. This was just one of the novels where it's full of nice quotes that you want to make a bookmark out of. Which connects to something else I liked about this book, which is the aesthetic from the story. The setting never ceased to feel beautiful or interesting or vibrant. It really gave the novel an added effect to add to the story as a whole. I didn't necessarily enjoy the characters as much as I had hoped. I had trouble connecting with them. Which for me, is a real bummer because I feel like character is the most important part of the story. I still liked it though.
Enjoyed getting to know Jenny, and witnessing her reward.
Louis Comfort Tiffany has built an artist’s retreat that boasts a priceless collection of his windows, lamps, and tiled architecture. Here, artists are free to “abandon tradition, disregard the confines of your speciality, and seek fresh inspiration” for eight weeks. And, there is a prize for the winner of the final art contest. Jenny Bell’s wealthy best friend and roommate Minx entered her for a place at this year’s summer art studio, where both women are accepted. But Jenny has a sordid past, one she can’t share with the boyfriend she left behind, who is determined to uncover her dark secret, nor with her roommate. Then she meets Tiffany’s grandson, Oliver. Suddenly she sees life in color again, like the day she first saw a Tiffany stained glass window in a mausoleum when escaping one of the rages of her violent, alcoholic stepfather. Her secret relationship challenges her romantically and artistically, and soon a great tragedy will befall them all. Tiffany Blues is a creative answer to the mysterious question of how the real Laurelton Hall came to be burned in a fire after many years of neglect, and an embellished, thrilling story of the lives of the artists who might have studied there. For discussion questions, similar books, or a themed recipe of blueberry jam and lemon muffins, visit http://hub.me/amhyp.
Three things drew me to read this book: the author M. J. Rose, the setting during the Jazz Age, and the inclusion of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Laurelton Hall as an artist camp. Add to these my love of historical fiction and you have a recipe for an enjoyable read. M. J. Rose did not disappoint in her characterization of the time period and all its changes brought to the 1920s in America. Rose adds to this setting New York in all its fascinations during the roaring 1920s. Introducing into the scene young Jenny Bell, a 24-year old aspiring artist with a distinctively troubled past. Jenny finds herself studying art in Manhattan where she meets socialite and new friend, Minx Deering. Minx submits not only her work but also Jenny’s for possible acceptance into Tiffany’s artists’ camp at Laurelton. Both are accepted, and they find themselves the only two women in the group of artists invited. Jenny’s only worry is that her dark past might be uncovered and threaten her time at Laurelton Hall. For fans of historical fiction and the creative work of the Tiffany family, this is a book to fascinate your creative mind. The descriptions of the artistry and color by Tiffany are crystal clear. Nature’s beauty adds to the realistic views of the grounds around Laurelton Hall. Character development, as always in Rose’s work, is finely and sharply drawn so that you feel as if you know the people about whom you are reading. My Recommendation: Although I don’t list Tiffany Blues as one of M. J. Rose’s best books I’ve read, I did find it a pleasant story and one which, through Rose’s detail of the time period, taught me a great deal about the life and times of the Jazz Age and the artistry of the Tiffany family.
When I start a book that everyone is talking about I am always worried that it won’t live up to the hype, that I won’t like it as much as everyone else, and that it just won’t be all that for me. I was pulled into a world that I didn’t know much about. The world of art is a virtual unknown to me; I go to museums but have never studied art. Yet, I was invested in Jenny, Oliver, and Minx. I wanted them to figure out their lives and find their happy ending. Tiffany Blues is a light romance book with some mystery and history. The story was not a quick read and usually I struggle to finish slower books. With Tiffany Blues, I didn’t feel the must-read feeling that I have with other books but I knew that I had to read until the very end. I anticipated that there would be twists, turns, and so many other unknowns to be discovered before the book came to an end. M.J. Rose is an author that I look to for a gothic and historical feel and I’m not sure this had as much of a gothic feeling as her other books have. With all that being said this is a book that I do recommend reading.
Another fantastic story by this author! I love all books by M.J. Rose, and this one was GREAT. I love the time period, and the fact that it involves Louis Comfort Tiffany and his estate on Long Island. Everything about this story kept me turning the pages as quickly as I could to see what was going to happen next. Loved it!
Favorite Quotes: I tried to make my voice light. My mother once told me I had a silver voice that tarnished when I wasn’t giving her the whole truth. I’ve just always viewed marriage as a job, and it’s not the job I want for myself in the foreseeable future. I felt as if I’d stepped inside a jewelry box. Everything shone and sparkled and glowed in gemstone shades We’re all broken in one way or another, but it’s through the cracks in our souls that the light comes through. And the light, Jenny, that’s our art. My Review: Tiffany Blues wasn’t at all what I was expecting, and more the better. This was my first exposure to M.J. Rose and I now count myself her newest fan. Her clever combinations of words deftly painted rich and opulent pictures, equivalent in skill and technique to any of the Old Masters. My curiosity was quickly snagged by the intriguing prologue and continued forth as an ominous and haunting ambiance of tension, danger, and potential exposure of long-hidden secrets remained throughout, which kept me on edge and nibbling at my cuticles. The writing was lushly detailed with colorful and lavish descriptions of the well-appointed accommodations, feasts, gardens, and elegant clothing and décor. The storylines were gradually developed yet well-crafted, engaging, tragic, and captivating. I cannot imagine the amount of research involved in such an undertaking but I reveled in the fruits of her labor as I enjoyed learning many interesting little tidbits and history of the time as was unaware of the trendy interest in spiritualism, the history of Ouija boards, and of Thomas Edison’s Spirit Phone - which I Googled to be certain, and he had actually labored with other scientists of the day toward “a telephone that calls beyond this realm to reach people who have passed.” As neared the end I began to fret with increasing alarm that my niggling questions would be left unanswered. Silly me, I sighed a satisfied and relaxing breath at the clever conclusion. Well-played Ms. Rose, “there is beauty even in broken things.”
Well, color me surprised. This was better than I expected. Admittedly, I didn't really expect anything from this novel as it isn't really my kind of book. I won an ARC of this in a raffle and decided to give it a go. And good thing I did because let me tell you, it was pretty gosh darn good. The book starts rather slow, a thing that I don't mind so much, but something that you might want to be aware of. The synopsis promises romance and mystery, both of which take a bit to fully come into the plot. What it does in the meantime, is deliver a beautifully written depiction of art and beauty. I have never read M.J. Rose's work prior to this novel and I genuinely impressed. This is one of those people whose talent is obvious from the first chapter. The way they described art and detail even the smallest things is fantastic.
Thank you to BookishFirst and NetGalley for an ARC of this beautifully written novel! One of my favorites of 2018, without a doubt. What I found so fascinating about the book, right from the start, is that, as a reader, I could absolutely envision nearly ever detail described in the book. The imagery and descriptive language was the best I’ve ever found in a popular current work of fiction. This book was stunningly addictive and I can say enough great things about it!! I was in love with Jenny and the rest of the characters right from the start, and there was just enough suspense all throughout to keep me turning pages at lightning speed. Definitely five stars, if not more, in my opinion!
Love Love Love this Book!!! Tiffany Blues is captivating, mysterious, romantic, and magical! I am SO glad I gave this book a chance. I know we aren't supposed to but I ALWAYS judge books by their covers, not that this books cover isn't beautiful (in fact the inside covers look like Tiffany stained glass- so pretty!) - it's just that it's designed like the covers of books that I do not typically read. I don't read romance that often, I don't read much historical fiction, and THIS BOOK might have changed that. The book follows Jenny Bell, and a really interesting group of artists in the 1920's through 50's who retreat to the esteemed and gorgeous NY Laurelton Hall estate of Louis Comfort Tiffany (Tiffany as in - Tiffany lamps and pretty little blue boxes of expensive jewelry) to draw, paint, sculpt and broaden their artistic abilities. This really happened! I'm was enthralled by the history of this artistic foundation he created, and had not heard of it in the past. The creatives are not real characters (although, yes, Mr. Tiffany is, most are not) but are a fun cast to follow - through romance, secrets, mystery, theft, drugs, murder, arson - and more! The setting of Laurelton Hall is almost a character in itself as Rose paints vivid pictures of the beautiful estate where most of the story takes place. Oh, to have seen this place in it's glory days, before sadly it was burnt to the ground. This is a fictional story that MJ Rose imagines how that devastating fire came to be. I enjoyed every minute of this book and I didn't want it to end. I'm not big on mushy romance, but this was not that book. There was just a touch of romantic scenes - just enough. And again, also not big on history, but this had just the right amount to set the tone and background of the story. There were plenty of twists and turns and from start to finish the story wove seamlessly and captured my heart. Must read. You won't be disappointed!
This book was nothing what I thought it was going to be! I loved the relationship between Jenny & Oliver. It definitely kept me on my toes the whole time! I loved the relationship between all the characters and the drama that followed them! As an inspiring artist I really really love all the art talk. It gave me lots of inspiration and I can see all the wonderful pictures I will paint because of this book! Jenny was so amazing! She was an inspirational heroine. I love books where the main characters are females! Maybe it is because I am a female who knows! Overall I loved this book! 5 stars from me! Between the characters and the plot and the cover. Oh my! Just beauty. Beauty wrapped up in 314 pages! I definitely recommend reading this book!!!!
Jenny is a talented artist with a huge secret. She moves to NYC to escape her past. But as you can imagine, her past comes back to haunt her in very unusual ways. Jenny is a complex character. She only paints in monochromatic. She refuses to paint in color. When she is chosen to be an studying artist at the Louis Comfort Tiffany's artist colony, she opens her mind and her heart to color and to love. I love everything about this story. The history surrounding Tiffany, his mansion and his glass company is captivating and unique. I love a book that has me googling! I also enjoy the way M.J. Rose always weaves mysticism in her stories. This time it is with Ouija boards and Thomas Edison's spirit phone and yes...I googled that too and it did exist! Toward the end of this book, I just kept reading faster and faster. Some jewelry came up missing. Well, of course they blamed Jenny, because of her past. She was in a reform school for a crime she did not commit. See! You have got to read this book to find out! So, I could not let her suffer again...I had to read faster to get her out of this mess. I so enjoy books that keep you moving and gasping for air. M.J Rose has out done herself with this book. I never thought she would come close to The Book Of Lost Fragrances . She is very skillful in her storytelling. She weaves history, mystery, love and family into a tangled web of intrigue and complete enthrallment! She is one author I would love to sit down and have a cup of coffee and pick her brain. No telling what stories she can tell. I received this novel from Atria Books via Netgalley for a honest review.
Even though I don't have a creative bone in my body, every once in awhile I end up reading a book that takes place in the art world. This particular historical fiction book is centered on Jenny Bell who is one of twelve artists invited to a prestigious artists' colony in the 1920s. Laurelton Hall was a real life home that Louis Comfort Tiffany, a design director at his family's Tiffany & Co., donated to his foundation for art students. However, most of the story and characters are products of the author's imagination. Jenny Bell was an interesting and complex character. She has a past that you slowly learn about as the story progresses. The book has a little bit of everything including mystery and romance. If you are like myself and know next to nothing about painting and drawing, you can still appreciate the passion and thought process that goes into creating works of art. The author did an amazing job using words to convey these beautiful images into my head. Overall, a solid read with a main character that was really easy to form an attachment to and get caught up in her journey. I won a free copy of this book from BookishFirst but was not obligated to post a review here. All views expressed are my honest opinion.
Romance, Art, and Murder at a Jazz Age Estate Jenny Bell, an aspiring artist, is studying art in New York City, but is saving to go to Paris. Her roommate, Minx Deering, a wealthy socialite sculpture, also wants to go to Paris. She pushes Jenny to come with her and let her parents provide the money. Jenny is adamant. She wants to make her own way and keeps to the shadows to avoid her difficult past. When a chance to attend a summer workshop at Laurelton Hall, Louis Comfort Tiffany’s estate, arrives, Minx prevails on Jenny to take the opportunity of a lifetime. She finally agrees. In the luscious setting, Jenny starts to use color in her paintings. Before she stuck to a black, white and gray pallet. She is encouraged by Tiffany and by his grandson Oliver, who is also romantically interested in Jenny. As the competition for a showing in the Tiffany gallery heats up, Jenny’s past haunts her. The summer that started so bright darkens, and Jenny is at the center of the mystery. A hallmark of M.J. Rose is her use of color and scents to bring her novels to life. This is particularly true in this book. You can almost breathe in the scents and see the vivid colors at the Tiffany estate. I think this is one of her best descriptions so far. Jenny is a driven character with a past she tried hard to bury. I like her and hoped that she and Oliver would get together. He also has his demons. His grandfather wants him to manage the business, but Oliver prefers to design jewelry. I loved the scenes from the Jazz Age in New York City. The clubs sparkled with detail. I did wonder how they got anything done after staying up half the night. Historically, this novel is quite accurate including the scenes at the Tiffany estate. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy romance and suspense in a spectacular setting. I received this book from Net Galley for this review.
I am decidedly not an historical fiction person. If I'm going to read HF, there needs to be more to the story. And in just the brief sample of TIFFANY BLUES that BookishFirst offered, I knew that this was the type of HF I enjoy. TIFFANY BLUES is has a mystery element and also a love story to root for. Thank you to BookishFirst for the opportunity to read an advance copy and provide my thoughts here. Our story takes place in 1924 in Manhattan. Jenny Bell and her best friend, Minx, are aspiring artists. Jenny, however, has formed quite the reputation because she doesn't use color in any of her paintings. Which is partly why she is surprised to be invited to an artists' retreat at the request of the renown Louis Comfort Tiffany. Yup, THOSE Tiffanys. The future jewelry empire Tiffanys. But Jenny has a secret and she has to keep it a secret to remain at the colony and to save her burgeoning relationship with Louis' grandson, Oliver. I gave this book a solid 3.5 stars. Rose's writing is lyrical and really lends itself to this kind of whimsical storytelling. I'll be interested in checking out more of her catalog. I came to really care about Jenny and, especially, Minx.
The prologue drew me into this story with enough information to entice me to want to know more about what happened in the past. From there, the characters lives, habits and secrets were slowly revealed, so I felt as if I had a window into their motivations, beliefs and behaviors. I loved the small details, such as how the main character, Jenny, pictured colors to go with peoples voices. The author has a way of writing that makes the book feel as if it is made up of word pictures, as if not only was the book about artists, but the author also is an artist in the way she writes. One thing that puzzled me was how sexually active the females were in this book. I would have thought that women in 1920’s would have worried more about pregnancy and the stigma that goes along with it. One female had multiple partners. I would have liked the book better without all the sex. That was, in my opinion, the only thing that detracted from it. I also appreciated that some of the details were based on actual people and events from the time the book is about. I loved the mix of real and fiction. Overall, this is a good, well-written story.
Bravo to M.J. Rose, Author of “Tiffany Blues” for the captivating, intriguing, mystical, mysterious, enthralling, artistic gem that she has written. The Genres for this novel are Historical Fiction, Fiction, Mystery and Suspense, and Romance. It is amazing how the author layers and combines History, Fiction, Art, Magic, and Music to illustrate truth and love. I love the author’s vivid description of the landscape, nature, and the colorful cast of characters. The timeline of the story is 1924 and 1957 in New York. The story goes to the past when it pertains to the characters or events in this story. The author describes her characters as complex and complicated, perhaps due to the circumstances of the events or times in the story. The story revolves around historical characters, and those made up in her imagination to fit in. M.J. Rose writes about Louis Comfort Tiffany, the esteemed Artist know for his elaborate and elegant stained glass window, and owner of “Tiffany”, the store known for jewelry, silver and other prestigious gifts, Louis Comfort Tiffany was also known to sponsor an Artistic foundation for artists to come to his Long Island Paradise at Laurelton Hill, his mansion on the elite North Shore. Twenty four year old artistic Jenny Bell arrives at Laurelton Hill, with her best friend Minx Deering, a socialite, sculptor and artist. Jenny Bell has deep dark dangerous secrets that she has buried. Jenny shows exemplary talent in her drawings using black and showing light, but avoids color. After meeting with Louis Comfort Tiffany and his grandson Oliver, Jenny is encouraged to paint in color. Jenny has a unique ability to see things by color. There are twists and turns, betrayals, murder, and danger that seem to revolve around Jenny. There is theft and arson. This is in contrast to truth, art, natural beauty and love. I received a copy of this ARC from NetGalley for my honest review. I highly recommend this novel to readers who enjoy suspense, mystery, fiction and historical fiction. I loved everything about this story!.
I loved this Jazz era story that was part mystery and part love story. 24 year old artist Jenny Bell spends the summer at Louis Comfort Tiffany’s estate and meets Oliver Tiffany, the grandson. She has a dark past which shows in her inability to paint with colors. She is a loner who only wants to focus on her art and trusts no one. Her only true friend is Minx Deering who encourages and pushes her to experiment and open up to life’s possibilities. One of my favorite things was the friendship between the girls. The story moved along quickly and the historical details regarding Thomas Edison and others was wonderful. More than anything, the authors descriptions of intense color and dazzling light moved me to tears. Jenny’s past, which she has tried so hard to hide, is threatening to be revealed. She is torn between Oliver and Ben, and her art. Gorgeous. Breathtaking. Heartbreaking. I received an Advance Review Copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
I was given the book to read for an honest and thruthful review. WOW! What a surprise. I was not expecting to like this historical mystery and I loved it. The author has well researched Tiffany and takes you through their beautiful gardens and history. The characters were real and believable. The book holds your attention from the beginning. It is about a young talented girl and the trials and tribulations she goes through in life in trying to become an artist. How her mysterious past has followed her and affected her future. But, throughout the entire book you root for the heroine and what happens to the star crossed lovers. Read it and you will be captivated. I did not want it to end.
I won a free copy of this book from BookishFirst after reading a First Read and finding it intriguing. After doing extensive research the author has woven the history of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation at Laurelton Hall on Long Island into an interesting an exciting piece of fiction by the insertion of a twenty four year old fictional artist, Jenny Bell, attending on of the summer sessions. The history itself is fascinating, but the addition of Jenny's character, artfully developed, struggling to overcome a childhood trauma brings the history to life. Jenny doesn't trust men and is not looking for romance or anything that will distract her from her dream to study in Paris. Nevertheless she finds it at Laurelton. The author writes lush descriptions of the scenery and adeptly develops the characters of artists, Jenny's family and the Tiffany family members. Jenny's struggle to capture "the allure and mystique of light", will leave the reader with a sense of noticing light reflected on everything in sight. More than a romance, there is a mystery to be solved.
Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose is a lush, beautiful and suspenseful story about Jenny Bell, who is trying to overcome the tragedies of her past and find joy in her art. She meets Minx, an artist from a wealthy background who involves her in the Greenwich art community and then arranges for her to join her at the Tiffany home for a Tiffany Foundation art session. While there Jenny falls in love and finds her past coming back in to haunt her in ominous ways. This book is beautifully written, with descriptions painted so artfully that I can almost picture myself in Jenny’s shoes. The romance feels raw, tenuous and real all at once, and the terror Jenny feels at the potential of her past ruining her future creates a sensation of urgency and desperation. Maybe it’s just because I finished du Maurier’s Rebecca for the Great American Read, but I see many similarities – the beautiful descriptions, the suspense, and the romance. I can’t wait to read another one of Rose’s books.