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“Jackie and Marie: a Novel of Jackie Kennedy and Maria Callas” by Gill Paul

As a child growing up in the 1960’s, no one seemed to be more fascinating to my mom than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.  Whether it be her intelligence, her fashion sense, her poise, her tragic story or her strong will to protect herself and her family after the assassination of her husband, I remember frequently seeing books and magazines with this intriguing woman’s face on them covering up my mom’s own face as she dove in.     

It was therefore with great anticipation that I checked out “Jackie and Maria”.  Although I had read extensively about Jackie Kennedy (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree), I knew very little about Maria Callas, nor her own relationship with Aristotle Onassis.     

This is a novel, one of historical fiction, but at times it certainly felt more like an autobiography or at least a biography.  The author certainly did her research.  Of course the dialogue isn’t quoted, but the author stuck to the actual timelines and events of the day, which made the look back at history all the more appealing.   

“Gill Paul is always meticulous in her historical research for novels, and always brings the characters so vividly to life…This novel is simply stunning.” (Louise Beech, author of Call Me Star Girl and The Mountain in My Shoe)   

We see two very interesting and complicated women with greatly different backgrounds and stories fall for the same man, but for very different reasons.  Our hearts both flutter and break for these women, at different times, and for different reasons, but we feel the emotions nonetheless.  Gill Paul does a great job of letting us into their worlds and riding the roller coaster of life with them.  I must note that when she writes about the historic assassination of President Kennedy, she does so without sensationalizing it one bit.  It’s truly written from the point of a woman who was there, but instead of focusing on the details of the murder, Paul offers us a sensitive view of Jackie’s stunning experience and loss that day, and how it would affect her life forever.  That writing is beautiful.   

“Jackie and Maria is an intriguing behind-the-scenes look at the rivalry between two of the world’s most glamorous women, both of whom snared the attention of Aristotle Onassis, one of the world’s richest and most mesmerizing men. Fans of the Kennedys will love this introduction to Maria Callas!” (Stephanie Thornton, USA Today bestselling author of And They Called It Camelot)     

“Gill Paul weaves together the lives of two fascinating and flawed icons… A dishy and delectable novel, Jackie and Maria, is sure to please readers with its famous cast of characters from John F. Kennedy to Aristotle Onassis, its taut pacing, and a truly absorbing story.” (Heather Webb, USA Today Bestselling Author)     

“Glamorous and highly seductive, this compelling story explores the lives of two complex, powerful women complete with all their talents and flaws. Jackie and Maria is not just about their story; this novel also brings the 20th century to life in vivid, colorful detail. I loved it.” (Dinah Jefferies, #1 Sunday Times bestselling author)  

As Heather Webb wrote in her review, this novel is both dishy and delectable, and I’m happy to say that since I’m not a fan of dishy, I was glad that the scales were amply tipped to the delectable side.  This was an enjoyable read, a ride back into history, and a great peek into what it means to live and love, not only while living in the spotlight, but as a woman and mother in any circumstance.  If you’re looking for an enjoyable read with an intriguing backstory, “Jackie and Maria” just might be the book for you.

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