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October 2016 Indie Next List
“Cruel Beautiful World is a masterful family drama about sisterhood, love, and the dangers of entering the adult world. Lucy is sure that she and her high school teacher are in love. She agrees to run away with William to a rural paradise where they can be together safely until she turns 18. Lucy, however, gets more than she bargained for when her life turns into one of isolation and deprivation. Her sister, Charlotte, never gives up hope that Lucy will return. Their shocking reunion will leave readers riveted to the page and these characters will haunt readers long after the book is finished.”
— Pamela Klinger-Horn (E), Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN
"A gorgeous, seductive novel that is also terrifying and pulse-pounding." --Wiley Cash, author of The Dark Road to Mercy
"Backdropped by the Vietnam War and the Manson murders, Cruel Beautiful World is a fast-moving page-turner about the naivete of youth and the malignity of power. Leavitt exploreswith a keen eye the intersection of love, family, and the anxiety of an era." --Lily King, author of Euphoria
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.