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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Beautiful Little Fools

ISBN: 978-0063051256

Publisher: Harper

Publication Date: 02/01/2022

Format: Hardcover, e-book, audio

Narrators: All-Star Cast: Cassandra Campbell, Julia Whelan, Elizabeth Evans, Brittany Pressley, George Newbern

Harper Audio

My Rating: 5 Stars +++

“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 succeeds brilliantly with this audacious revisionist murder mystery featuring characters from The Great Gatsby. . . . Cantor successfully captures the style and tone of the 1925 novel with vivid details. . . . Proving once again that it is 'hard to forget the past,' Cantor’s admirably convincing act of literary skullduggery offers many rewards." Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Cantor’s shifting kaleidoscope of female perspectives makes 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

“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

“Glittering with intrigue, shimmering with fast-paced tension, and saturated in Jazz Age decadence, this powerful, memorable exploration of the lore of The Great Gatsby will forever change the way you see the American classic--and perhaps, too, the role of women in all the stories we take for granted."

-- Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Vanishing Stars

“In Beautiful Little Fools, Jillian Cantor gorgeously captures the complex lives of the Great Gatsby women, creating a delicate and intricate story that dovetails perfectly with Fitzgerald's. It was engrossing to the final page."

— Jill Santopolo, New York Times bestselling author of The Light We Lost

“This is the untold story we’ve all be waiting for! Lush, beautiful, and dazzling, Cantor transports readers back to an era of hot summer nights, jazz music, and lounging poolside at one of Jay Gatsby’s infamous parties. This book is an instant classic.”

- Shea Ernshaw, New York Times bestselling author of A History of Wild Places

"Both heartbreaking and satisfying, Cantor's gorgeous reimagining of Fitzgerald's classic novel gives each of its female characters the depth she deserves, by placing the women center stage….I could not stop turning the pages as I rooted for each of these women, balancing the tightrope of societal expectations while daring to dream. Jillian Cantor is a sparkling talent in the genre of historical fiction."

— Meredith Jaeger, USA Today bestselling author of The Pilot's Daughter

“This Gatsby retelling reveals more about the women in the story by casting them as humans, not decorative baubles. Cantor asks and answers: Who were the real fools in Gatsby’s world?”

-- Kirkus Reviews

“Unlike the original destructive, self-absorbed characters and the pervasive issue of class, Cantor focuses instead on portraying Daisy and her fellow females in a sympathetic light, reimagining and empowering them to speak to readers with a feminist bent.”

-- Booklist

"The story of The Great Gatsby is reimagined and retold by three of the novel's women, Daisy Buchanan, Jordan Baker, and Catherine McCoy in this sharp, compelling recasting of the classic." -- Town & Country (Must-Read Books of Winter 2022)

They picked the cream of the crop with this cast of All-Star Narrators:

Narrators: All Star Cast: Cassandra Campbell, Julia Whelan,

Elizabeth Evans, Brittany Pressley, and George Newbern

Harper Audio

My Review


Highly impressive, one of the most highly anticipated historical fictional literary reimagining of 2022—the brilliantly crafted novel exceeded all expectations and more!

Move over

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Nick Carraway

Jay Gatsby

Tom Buchanan


return to tell the "real story."

Jillian Cantor

Daisy Buchanan

Jordan Baker

Catherine McCoy

"I hope she'll be a fool—that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool." —Daisy Buchanan in THE GREAT GATSBY.

Jillian Cantor is at the "top of her game" as the ladies of Gatsby take center stage in BEAUTIFUL LITTLE FOOLS.

I have been a big fan of The Great Gatsby for many years, reading all the books, editions, movies, etc., time and time again. I even purchased and re-read the new Collector's Edition special edition, which came out in 2021, and the audiobook narrated by Tanner Buchanan (Blackstone).

However, once you read this sizzling tale by Jillian Cantor, you will fall in love with the women of The Great Gatsby in a new light, and I found myself enjoying it more than the original.

In the original story, told by Nick Carraway and his allure with the enigmatic Jay Gatsby, BEAUTIFUL LOOK FOOLS conveys a different story told from the women's POV. (Daisy, Jordan, and Catherine). We also have Detective Frank Charles, who adds another bit of mystery.

A total package. I adored: the stunning front cover, the well-developed characters that came alive on the page, vivid settings, the lyrical prose, the passion, the meticulous research, the precise and attention to detail, and most of all, the great "Essay by Jillian" included at the end of the novel! (I wish more authors would do so). I am all about behind-the-scenes and inspiration. MARVELOUS!

Oh, and please do not let me forget a major highlight. The audiobook was award-winning with an all-star cast of some of my favorite performers: Cassandra Campbell, Julia Whelan, Brittany Pressley, Elizabeth Evans, and George Newburn by HarperAudio.

Everyone loves the glitz and glamour and the recklessness of Daisy and Tom, Jay Gatsby, the mysterious Jordan (female golfer), Myrtle trapped in a loveless marriage with the abusive mechanic, and the tenacious Catherine pursuing her suffragette efforts. But what if?

Behind all the drunken parties, infidelity, affairs, murder, darkness, lies, egos, deceit, secrets, love, loss, and glamour—we find friendship, loyalty, motherhood, sisterhood, self-preservation, self-discovery, and the importance of home among these often misunderstood women. Jillian provides a voice. I think they would be proud.

An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions.(Reading Group Guide Included) and further discussions.

Beautifully rendered, I read this in one sitting and purchased the hardcover, e-book, and audio. A must-read for all home libraries!

Well done! Thank you for writing this incredible masterpiece literary fans will cherish—a classic story from the perspective of the female characters that will linger long after the book ends.


My Rating: 🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

5/of 5 Stars +++

Pub Date: 02/01/2022

About the Author

Photo credit: Galen Evans

Jillian Cantor has a BA in English from Penn State University and an MFA from the University of Arizona. She is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of eleven novels for teens and adults, which have been chosen for LibraryReads, Indie Next, Amazon Best of the Month, and have been translated into 13 languages. Jillian’s next historical novel for adults, Beautiful Little Fools, will be published in January 2022. Born and raised in a suburb of Philadelphia, Cantor currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.







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