Amidst the opulent glamor and vicious social circles of Gilded Age New York, this stunning biographical historical novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Second Mrs. Astor conjures the true rags-to-riches story of Arabella Huntington -- a woman whose great beauty was surpassed only by her exceptional business acumen, grit, and artistic eye, and who defied the constraints of her era to become the wealthiest self-made woman in America.

Sexual assault, sex work.

1867, Richmond, Virginia: Though she wears the same low-cut purple gown that is the uniform of all the girls who work at Worsham’s gambling parlor, Arabella stands apart. It’s not merely her statuesque beauty and practiced charm. Even at seventeen, Arabella possesses an unyielding grit, and a resolve to escape her background of struggle and poverty.

Collis Huntington, railroad baron and self-made multimillionaire, is drawn to Arabella from their first meeting. Collis is married and thirty years her senior, yet they are well-matched in temperament, and flirtation rapidly escalates into an affair. With Collis’s help, Arabella eventually moves to New York, posing as a genteel, well-to-do Southern widow. Using Collis’s seed money and her own shrewd investing instincts, she begins to amass a fortune.

Their relationship is an open secret, and no one is surprised when Collis marries Arabella after his wife’s death. But “The Four Hundred”—the elite circle that includes the Astors and Vanderbilts—have their rules. Arabella must earn her place in Society—not just through her vast wealth, but with taste, style, and impeccable behavior. There are some who suspect the scandalous truth, and will blackmail her for it. And then there is another threat—an unexpected, impossible romance that will test her ambition, her loyalties, and her heart . . .

An American Beauty brings to vivid life the glitter and drama of a captivating chapter in history—and a remarkable woman who lived by her own rules.

Don't just take our word for it...

“This is an interesting examination of a lesser-known figure from the Gilded Age, one whose story extends beyond the confines of late-19th-century New York…This story of one woman’s ascent offers a fascinating look at the choices she made to become a Gilded Age titan.”
– Kirkus Reviews

“Abé is an exquisite storyteller.”
– Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Magnolia Palace

Taste the very first page


The Homestead

Throggs Neck, New York August, 1902

She wasn’t going to be allowed inside the mansion itself, apparently. Lucy could glimpse it from the graveled path she walked, however: acres away, maybe miles away, the rows and rows of windows, diamond-sharp in the sunlight. The heavy Italianate towers marking either end, cutting cream and black against the cobalt sky.

She didn’t want to be caught gawking, not by the army of straw-hatted servants working in the gardens around her, or by the footman—guard, more like—at her side. Lucy returned to pretending to admire the grounds.

It was sticky hot; she was already starting to perspire through her corset and shirtwaist. She’d had to park the Model A by the entrance gates (also maybe miles away), as the gatekeeper had in- formed her she’d only be allowed to proceed to the estate on foot. Lucy didn’t mind the walk; she was spry enough and to be perfectly honest, the grounds were begging to be admired, a careful…