Book Review: Beautiful Little Fools by Jillian Cantor

To be totally transparent, I’ve never been a huge fan of The Great Gatsby. It was Daisy that I never could really empathize with in any way. I was intrigued with the cover of Beautiful Little Fools when I saw it on Netgalley and was a little disappointed when I realized it was a Gatsby related novel. But as I read the description and thought about it, I grew very interested in the premise: The Great Gatsby, but from the perspective of the women—and with a mysterious twist!

Beautiful Little Fools tells the story of each of the women in Jay Gatsby’s world—or just on the periphery: socialite Daisy Buchanan, golfer Jordan Baxter, and suffragette Catherine McCoy (Myrtle Wilson’s sister). Each character evolves over the years leading up to the murder of Jay Gatsby. We learn about their childhood, younger adult years, family, and how each of them ended up in West Egg that fateful night. 

Interspersed with the alternating points of view of the ladies is that of Detective Frank Charles. While to most Mr. Gatsby’s death seemed like a clear case of Murder – Suicide perpetrated by George Wilson, a single diamond hairpin found by the pool has Detective Charles looking more closely into the case. Could one of these women have been involved? 

Jillian Cantor has done a fantastic job of slowly revealing each of these women—and their possible motives—in an enticing way. Each character has their own distinct voice, past, and motive, and each one is portrayed in a strong enough way that any one of them could be guilty. Cantor has expertly balanced this unique story with the events and timelines in The Great Gatsby so that the two are tied together, and the reader can anticipate what’s coming, without relying on the original story too heavily. Beautiful Little Fools is a fully formed, plotted, and executed novel on its own, not requiring the reader to have even read the classic that inspired it. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and can honestly say that I love it even more than I liked The Great Gatsby! 

Beautiful Little Fools will be released 2/1/22 and I highly recommend that you get your copy!


*I received an ARC of Beautiful Little Fools from Netgalley and Harper Perennial in exchange for an honest review

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