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Book Giveaway! Caroline Leavitt’s Cruel Beautiful World!

by Susan Henderson on July 31, 2017

I’m in the mood to celebrate. Want to win some cool prizes?

Good, because I have something special for you:

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Bestselling author, Caroline Leavitt, will give away 3 signed copies of her incredible, haunting novel, Cruel Beautiful World. I read this book in one sitting, my heart racing, as a lonely girl makes a series of terrible choices in order to feel loved. Here’s the official description:

Sixteen-year-old Lucy Gold is about to run away with a much older man to live off the grid in rural Pennsylvania, a rash act that will have vicious repercussions for both her and her older sister, Charlotte. As Lucy’s default parent for most of their lives, Charlotte has seen her youth marked by the burden of responsibility, but never more so than when Lucy’s dream of a rural paradise turns into a nightmare.

Cruel Beautiful World examines the intricate, infinitesimal distance between seduction and love, loyalty and duty, chaos and control, as it explores what happens when you’re responsible for things you cannot make right.

Set against a backdrop of peace, love, and the Manson murders, the novel is a reflection of the era: exuberant, defiant, and precarious all at once. And Caroline Leavitt isat her mesmerizing best in this haunting, nuanced portrait of love, sisters, and the impossible legacy of family.

So, wait. A signed copy of this extraordinary book is not the only thing you will win…

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…because Caroline is also going to watercolor a bookmark just for you!

Okay, so she only knows how to paint these things, but you get to choose:

1. mermaid
2. dogs
3. fishes
4. a hand wearing a pair of pants (I know! Wha?!)
5. cups of coffee

6 cats

How do you enter to win? Easy. Just post a comment below, and I will make sure your name goes into a hat. This is the hat.

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At the end of the week, I’ll draw three names and announce the winners!

One last thing. Remember that first picture with a cover of Caroline’s book in it? Scroll back up to the top and look at the painting. I love this story: This painting (by Eileen Patten Oliver) is very important to Caroline because she’s terrified of the ocean but also loves it. So Eileen painted a small figure standing in front of a tsunami. And Caroline says this painting gives her courage.

And I love Caroline—for this and a million more reasons.

Okay, post a comment, and I’ll put your name in the hat. Hope you win because this book is spectacular!! (And if you’ve already read it, you can post a note to Caroline just because.)

UPDATE! UPDATE!

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As promised, one week after I posted this, I put all the names of you fantastic people into the hat. The 3 winners of a signed CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD and watercolored bookmark of your choice are:

Ric Marion
Nikki Dawson
and Joanne Mielczarski

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(See, I chose with my eyes shut and let the winners fall on to my filthy keyboard.)

Caroline will be in touch with each of you about prizes. Congratulations! And thank you, everyone, for playing!

{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica Keener July 31, 2017 at 1:12 am

I love this book. The writing is fierce. It took my breath away. Every page is on fire. Run to buy this book and get a few extra for your family, neighbors, and friends. This is a masterfully told story that dives deep into the disturbing dynamics of complex romantic relationships. I’m so thrilled it’s available now in paperback.

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 11:04 am

Yes, the writing is fierce, and kept trying to will her with my mind, no, no, no, don’t do that, but she had to learn about the world for herself.

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Gina Sorell July 31, 2017 at 1:33 am

If I had to pick a favorite Caroline Leavitt novel, this would be it. The characters are complicated, the relationships complex, their desires palpable and alive on the page. Leavitt is relentless in her exploration of what makes her people tick, showing us the cruelty and the beauty behind their circumstances and the devastating consequences of their actions. A stunning novel, one that I have given and recommended time and time again. Buy it, devour it, spread the word.

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 11:06 am

Yes! You’ve said that perfectly, how she explores the heart and the world so fully. This one’s my favorite too, although I’ve seen glimpses of the new one and it’s wow wow wow!

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Thelma Adams July 31, 2017 at 2:09 am

Oh, how much do I love Caroline? Let me count the ways: She’s passionate, committed, generous, thoughtful, insightful — she is all beauty no cruelty in a world that lately has seemed so cruel and so short on integrity. She is a beacon and I’m super glad to be a part of her orbit. Sweet Caroline!

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 11:08 am

So very true. The most generous writer on the planet.

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Kelly Wolf July 31, 2017 at 11:54 am

This book sounds intriguing! And who wouldn’t want a bookmark of a hand wearing a pair of pants? Thank you for providing us this opportunity!

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 11:55 am

I know, I’m dying to see what that even means! So glad you’re here, Kelly.

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Leora Skolkin-Smith July 31, 2017 at 11:57 am

Oh, I have a special place in my literary heart for writers as gifted, as inclusive, and brilliant as Caroline Leavitt. Like all her novels, this book is tender-hearted, and she is a master at the pure craft of story-telling and narrative. You get swept up, taken, spellbound. I can think of no higher praise than this! If you can’t stop reading a book, that’s some book, and Caroline Leavitt is some writer! I love her work for its humanity and skill both. A rare gift from a lovely person.

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 12:02 pm

I know. I gobble down her books and then I go back and study them — how did she set up that twist? how did she get me to think in this other direction? how did she make me see these people and this world so clearly without slowing the pace? A master storyteller.

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Kim Chinquee July 31, 2017 at 1:55 pm

This book is amazing!! Makes me want to go back and study. Thanks for this post.

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Yes. I actually study both of you. Caroline for the large story shape and you for the way to get the most out of the fewest words. Geniuses.

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Kim Chinquee July 31, 2017 at 3:36 pm

What an honor! That’s exactly what I study: her story shape. And you: for the rhythm and beauty of your words, for your tightropes! 😉 Thank you.

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 4:09 pm

Aww, thank you. That’s so kind. (And I’m working on my damned tightrope right now!)

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Jennifer Haupt July 31, 2017 at 2:47 pm

I love this painting — and this book! Caroline’s characters are so well-shaped and real. I always wind up rooting for them, even with their flaws and bad choices.

I’m in it to win it! Who wouldn’t love a hand-painted bookmarker?

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 2:59 pm

So glad you’re here, Jen! Yes about rooting for her flawed characters. And I agree, there’s nothing like a hand-painted bookmark from an author you admire!

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 3:29 pm

Just need to say publicly that I’m jealous I can’t enter my own contest. Because I would totally ask for the mermaid bookmark. : )

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Aimee Bingham July 31, 2017 at 5:04 pm

Oh, I would love to win. I think I need to go read the book regardless. It sounds fantastic.

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 5:09 pm

Aimee! Glad you’re here!

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Caroline Leavitt July 31, 2017 at 6:04 pm

You are all making me cry. HUGE thanks for such kind, kind words. My heart is a sparkler.

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 6:35 pm

<3 <3 Makes me so happy to see all these gushing words about you and your gorgeous book! <3 <3

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Caryn S July 31, 2017 at 6:31 pm

Thanks for the opportunity! I have heard only rave reviews for this book and I cannot wait to read it myself.

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 6:34 pm

Caryn, Welcome!

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suzanne leopold July 31, 2017 at 6:49 pm

Great book and I love your blog!

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 6:54 pm

Suzanne, Glad you’re here!

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Janet Capron July 31, 2017 at 6:54 pm

Cruel Beautiful World–I’m getting lost in it. Can’t put it down, which is only a problem late at night. I am savoring the prose–but there’s a ticking bomb in the basement, it’s got that thriller thing to go along with the vivid writing–love that brilliant combination–and to think this master story teller still finds time to interview authors with debut books like me–really and truly this cruel beautiful world is a little more beautiful than I thought!
If I win, cats please.
Mark Twain:
Q: What do you get when you cross homo sapiens with felines?
A: An inferior breed of cat!

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Janet, You are so right about the feeling that there’s a ticking bomb in the basement. You feel it scene after scene.

And let’s link your debut novel here so others can see and celebrate: https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Money-Janet-Capron/dp/1944700269

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Suzanne Magdalena Rolph-Mcfalls July 31, 2017 at 7:04 pm

Our family is experiencing 2 cancer deaths right now, my mom, my husband’s dad, and great books are saviors.
I am in the mournful valley right now, and that specific latitude and longitude cause changes within us that I’ve yet to unpack. For now, I’d like to escape with a great book and cup of coffee and a painting of a cup of coffee 💙

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 7:25 pm

Suzanne, I’m so sorry to hear of all the loss you’re experiencing right now. And I’m glad you’re here.

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Anna Russell July 31, 2017 at 7:09 pm

New fan of your page and author. Would love to read! sounds fabulous!

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 7:25 pm

Anna, Welcome! :)

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Janet Walker July 31, 2017 at 7:19 pm

I too am afraid of the ocean. It is enormous and scary and dangerous…and stunningly beautiful. I would love to read this book.

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 7:26 pm

Me too. Fear and awe. Glad you’re here, Janet!

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Lisa Murray July 31, 2017 at 7:23 pm

Looks interesting. I always rate and review on goodreads and would love to get this book!

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 7:27 pm

Lisa, Welcome!

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Jamie E. July 31, 2017 at 7:51 pm

I haven’t read this book yet but I have heard great things and it sounds so intriguing!! I can’t wait to read it! And a water colored bookmark too?! So awesome! Thank you for this wonderful opportunity!

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 9:27 pm

This book is as good as the rumors about it! Welcome, Jamie!

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Donna Burfield July 31, 2017 at 8:11 pm

Would love to read and review this book. It sounds amazing.

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 9:28 pm

Glad you’re here, Donna!

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Nikki Dawson July 31, 2017 at 8:40 pm

Dog . Love your books , awesome read

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 9:28 pm

Welcome, Nikki!

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Susan Henderson August 7, 2017 at 12:47 am

WINNER!!! Nikki, see the updated post… you won!

You won signed copies of Caroline Leavitt’s CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD and watercolored bookmarks of your choosing.

Please send your address to Caroline’s biz account — carleavitt@hotmail.com — along with whatever your choice of watercolor is! She is thrilled to send this to you!!!

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Lynette July 31, 2017 at 8:43 pm

I abso-tootin’-lootley want to a signed copy of Cruel Beautiful World, because then I can justify putting it on the top of my to-read pile. And a one-of-a-kind bookmark to boot… As an artist, I can’t resist trying to get this pairing!

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 9:30 pm

Hi Lynette! I love this pairing too. Into the drawing you go!

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Jenny Collins Belk July 31, 2017 at 8:53 pm

I would love the opportunity to read Caroline’s book. I’ve heard great things about it. Thank you for the chance to win. I would love a watercolor bookmark of cats.

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 9:30 pm

Welcome, Jenny!

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Colleen McGuire July 31, 2017 at 8:59 pm

Just leave a comment? Any comment and my name gets thrown in a cap?? Woohooo! Well, how about I would love a copy as I have been following Caroline since “Pictures of You” and the meatloaf train and jello molds in “Is This Tomorrow.” I even learned the correct use of “plonkin”. Yup, that’s how much I would like to win this book. :-)

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 9:32 pm

Hi Colleen! Yep, you’re in the hat! And we’re all kicking ourselves for not thinking of jello mold prizes.

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Caroline Leavitt July 31, 2017 at 9:06 pm

Wow. I love all of you and want you all to come over and we can sit in the backyard and eat cookies and drink iced tea. (Think I’m kidding? I’m not!) <3

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 9:32 pm

Baking cookies now…

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Joanne Mielczarski July 31, 2017 at 10:16 pm

Would love to win this book. And I love coffee – so a cups of coffee bookmark would be right up my alley.

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Susan Henderson July 31, 2017 at 10:49 pm

Welcome, Joanne! Your name is in the hat!

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Susan Henderson August 7, 2017 at 12:46 am

WINNER!!! Joanne, see the updated post… you won!

You won signed copies of Caroline Leavitt’s CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD and watercolored bookmarks of your choosing.

Please send your address to Caroline’s biz account — carleavitt@hotmail.com — along with whatever your choice of watercolor is! She is thrilled to send this to you!!!

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Martha Burzynski July 31, 2017 at 11:46 pm

So interested! I’d love to meet a mermaid mid-novel…

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Susan Henderson August 1, 2017 at 12:18 am

Glad you’re here, Martha! And I’m for the mermaid too!

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Angie August 1, 2017 at 1:47 am

I would love to win this book and a hand painted bookmark with coffee cup’s on it! As much as I love coffee that would be a great plus.
Thank you Susan for this awesome chance!

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Susan Henderson August 1, 2017 at 10:42 am

My pleasure. Glad you’re here, Angie!

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Michael Raymond August 1, 2017 at 3:04 am

I really enjoyed CBW. Anything to support Caroline!

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Susan Henderson August 1, 2017 at 10:43 am

Welcome, Michael!

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Corey Mesler August 1, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Oh, please enter me.

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Susan Henderson August 1, 2017 at 12:40 pm

You’re in the hat, Corey!

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Ric Marion August 1, 2017 at 5:09 pm

Stick my name in. I need a good summertime read. Son’s wedding is Friday – after that, I’m diving into my to read pile.

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Susan Henderson August 1, 2017 at 5:31 pm

Hooray, Ric, you’re here! And also, you’re in the hat.

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Susan Henderson August 7, 2017 at 12:47 am

WINNER!!! Ric, see the updated post… you won!

You won signed copies of Caroline Leavitt’s CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD and watercolored bookmarks of your choosing.

Please send your address to Caroline’s biz account — carleavitt@hotmail.com — along with whatever your choice of watercolor is! She is thrilled to send this to you!!!

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Ric Marion August 7, 2017 at 2:00 pm

How cool is that?
Looking forward to reading it.
Check out how my son’s wedding went over on my blog.

Thanks for doing this, Susan.
and, you too, Caroline.

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Susan Henderson August 7, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Oh, I absolutely loved reading about your son’s wedding. Congratulations!

For those of you who don’t already read Ric’s blog, you can find it here: https://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/RicMarion/

Janet Clare August 1, 2017 at 10:02 pm

I didn’t know I needed a mermaid bookmark, but I do.

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Susan Henderson August 2, 2017 at 10:43 am

So right about the mermaid bookmark. Welcome, Janet!

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Lucinda Kempe August 2, 2017 at 12:16 am

Hi Susan and Caroline! I love cookies and writer’s chatting. Put me in.

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Susan Henderson August 2, 2017 at 10:43 am

Lucinda! You’re in the hat. :)

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Caroline Leavitt August 2, 2017 at 2:41 pm

I am gobsmacked at all the responses. I love all of you.

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Susan Henderson August 2, 2017 at 3:27 pm

xoxo

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Kelly Rodriguez August 2, 2017 at 10:44 pm

This book has me really intrigued!!! I just have to read it now!!!

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Susan Henderson August 3, 2017 at 11:38 am

Glad you’re here, Kelly!

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Doni Molony August 3, 2017 at 11:16 pm

I love Caroline.
My dog just got home from 2 day doggie hospitalization because he ate a mushroom in the yard. He had seizures and 107° temperature. He’s still puking.
My 27 year old dryer started dripping molten innards and melting the linoleum in the laundry room. I was home.
My hubby who is a juijitsu black belt, was run over by an old lady in a Mercedes at the bank yesterday. He is 63. Luckily he’s got the reflexes. He slapped out as if he were on the mat, pulled his legs up and rolled onto her trunk. He rolled off. She mouthed “sorry” didn’t stop and drove away.
I FEEL LUCKY. Throw my name in that cap!

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Susan Henderson August 6, 2017 at 9:14 pm

Doni, Welcome. I’ve got your name in the hat! Hope you’re doggie’s feeling better. Sending you good thoughts and good luck.

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Susan Henderson August 7, 2017 at 12:11 am

As promised, one week after I posted this, I put all the names of you fantastic people into the hat. The 3 winners of a signed CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD and watercolored bookmark of your choice are:

Ric Marion
Nikki Dawson
and Joanne Mielczarski

I’ll update this post and include a couple of photos. Caroline will be in touch with each of you about prizes. Congratulations! And thank you, everyone, for playing!

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Caroline Leavitt August 7, 2017 at 12:23 am

Ric Marion, Nikki Dawnson and Joanna Mielcazrski! Please send your address to my biz account — carleavitt@hotmail.com — and what your choice of watercolor is! I’m thrilled to send this to you!!! And THANK YOU Susan Henderson, for everything and more.

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Janet Capron August 9, 2017 at 5:12 pm

Cruel Beautiful World reads like a taut literary thriller–I’m right in the middle of it, and I can’t put it down. I love prose that swims effortlessly through the minds of the main characters while the tension builds outside and all around them–the entire story so far is one of ominous foreshadowing. I am studying this book to learn more about how to tell a story without sacrificing the details that make an alternate universe so vivid–I remember now that those psychedelic times were also furiously dark–so far it seems to be about what happens when the thin patina of civilized society is blown all to hell. I can’t wait to get to the country tomorrow where I can just read all day. Great book!

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Susan Henderson August 9, 2017 at 11:10 pm

So love reading this, especially knowing where the story’s going to take you. Enjoy!

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Janet Capron August 9, 2017 at 5:13 pm

Lucky winners!

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Caroline Leavitt August 9, 2017 at 8:05 pm

Oh my Goodness! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Send out books today. i adore you all!

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Susan Henderson August 9, 2017 at 11:10 pm

xoxo

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Lynette August 10, 2017 at 1:22 pm

SO jealous! I will read it anyway… just without the cool bookmark… and the signed part will have to wait for another day… *sigh*.

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Susan Henderson August 10, 2017 at 2:12 pm

xo!

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