I knew I was going to enjoy BEAUTY and ATTENTION (Lake Union Publishing) before I even started reading the novel. I looked in the author’s notes and read that Pulitzer Prize nominee, Liz Rosenberg lives in Binghampton, New York with her daughter Lily and shih tzu, Sophie. Being a fellow shih tzu owner, mine is named Sassy, we share a certain sensibility, and that immediately peaked my interest.
BEAUTY and ATTENTION is the riveting story of one brave young woman’s struggle to free herself from a web of deceit.
It’s the mid-1950’s in middle class Rochester, New York. Libby Archer’s father has passed away from alcoholism leaving her with no parents, a bunch of friends and well-meaning busy-buddies telling her that she must do what any sensible young woman would do – settle down and get married. For Libby, a ready, willing and able suitor is available in the person of Caspar Lockwood, a handsome, successful young man she has grown up, knowing he wants to marry her. But Libby cannot bring herself to accept his marriage proposals and plans to delay marriage to Cap or anyone else by departing for her Uncle’s estate in Ireland. After watching her parents fight for much of their marriage and being kept home to perform as a health care worker for her father, Libby is ready to experience her independence.
In Ireland Libby finds comfort with her brilliant, invalid cousin, Lazarus. He understands his cousin, sees her frailties and understands how she lives to help others. He tries to protect her, but they have a falling out. In Rochester she was isolated and protected, but in Europe, she’s vulnerable and falls victim to those willing to take advantage of her. I found it difficult to read at times, as Libby made choices that ultimately hurt her. Libby’s journey towards independence is unpredictable filled with landmines, but she draws on all of her courage and strength from an undiscovered source within.
Liz creates well-developed characters and I loved reading about the various Irish, Parisian and Roman landscapes in BEAUTY and ATTENTION. I won’t give away the ending, but I will say I was pleasantly surprised and pleased.
About Liz Rosenberg
The author of more than thirty books for adults and young readers, Liz Rosenberg has published three bestselling novels, including The Laws of Gravity and The Moonlight Palace. She has also written five books of poems, among them 2008’s Demon Love, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and After Great Grief, forthcoming from the Provincetown Arts Press. Her poems have been heard on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion. Rosenberg’s books for young readers have won numerous awards and honors and have been featured on the PBS television show Reading Rainbow. A former Fulbright Fellowship recipient, Rosenberg teaches English at the State University of New York at Binghamton, where she earned the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. She lives in Binghamton with her daughter, Lily, and a shih tzu named Sophie. Although she has homes in New York and North Chatham, Massachusetts, her heart is still in Ireland.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Lake Union Publishing, we have one copy of BEAUTY and ATTENTION to giveaway. Just tell us if you’ve ever read anything written by Liz Rosenberg. We’ll announce a winner next Monday, November 14th.
Remember, tomorrow is election day. May sure you get out and vote, and you tell your friends to do the same. Have a great day.