Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Way of Beauty ~ ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Promo, Audio Book Review, & Giveaway!

Camille Di Maio
Genre: Historical Fiction / 20th Century / Literary
Publisher: Lake Union Press
Date of Publication: May 1, 2018
Number of Pages: 384

Scroll down for the giveaway!

Hearts and dreams evolve in the shadow of the once-magnificent Penn Station.
Vera Keller, the daughter of German immigrants in turn-of-the-century New York City, finds her life upended when the man she loves becomes engaged to another woman. But Angelo Bellavia has also inadvertently opened up Vera’s life to unexpected possibilities. Angelo’s new wife, Pearl, the wealthy daughter of a clothing manufacturer, has defied her family’s expectations by devoting herself to the suffrage movement. In Pearl, Vera finds an unexpected dear friend…and a stirring new cause of her own. But when Pearl’s selfless work pulls her farther from Angelo and their son, the life Vera craved is suddenly within her reach—if her conscience will allow her to take it.
Her choice will define not only her future but also that of her daughter, Alice.

Vera and Alice—a generation and a world apart—are bound by the same passionate drive to fulfill their dreams. As first mother and then daughter come of age in a city that is changing as rapidly as its skyline, they’ll each discover that love is the only constant.


"The Way of Beauty is a thing of beauty. The writing is gorgeous, the story is engaging, the characters are amazing. The amount of research that goes into historical fiction just astounds me. Add this to your TBR!”

"If you want to be swept away by a love story set in a fascinating and meticulously researched past, Camille Di Maio is the author for you. Don't miss this one."

“A captivating story of love and family that spans several generations."

"The writing transports you to the time, not so long ago when women had to choose between love and their rights. Camille Di Maio's dialogue, descriptions, and relationships create a complete picture of the era and struggles. Great book club book." 



HALL WAYS REVIEW: AUDIO BOOK / PRINT COMBO REVIEW. Warning! This book is going to take way longer to read with your ears than indicated. And that’s NOT a problem since what slowed me down was stopping, re-playing, and writing down the numerous quotes that caught my ear. The Way of Beauty is a treasure chest full of memorable lines uttered by characters with whom we want to spend time and know better. Listening to the story unfold makes the reader disappear into the past and into the hearts of the generations of people who live there.

In her first book, The Memory of Us, author Camille Di Maio convinced me that I am, in fact, capable of enjoying reading a romance. Happily, The Way of Beauty seals the deal, but like TMOU, it sets the bar high for all other books to follow.  Camille’s books are gloriously literary, and the reader is swept into the passion and love the characters develop for each other. But the romance element is so much more than between people. Di Maio manages to evoke an air of romance with the setting and the times and the history. Readers fall in love with every piece of it, generation after generation.

“It was the one good thing about having little. There was little to lose.” 

While there is passion abounding, Di Maio also brings in the less than beautiful truths of the early 20th century. She has done considerable research that highlights the ugliness associated with immigration, workplace safety, extreme poverty, women’s rights, prejudice, sexual harassment, and war – and the government's lack of interest or ability to handle the issues. (Hmm. And we are still dealing with new iterations of these same issues today.) Without being preachy or feeling like a history lesson, the book informs, subtly, and makes the reader think. The historical details are seamlessly woven into the rich tapestry that is The Way of Beauty.

“What was the value of a life of a man when thousands of immigrants were desperate to take his place?”

There is a stark contrast between the privileged and the poor, but glamour is often presented in terms of the sacrifice it took to make that glamour happen. Again, Di Maio makes the reader think about the conveniences we take for granted and, literally, the lives forever altered or lost to provide them to us.

The Way of Beauty is clean (tasteful and classy), and cleanly edited, and the writing is lyrical and even dreamy at times. Dialogues are natural and work to further immerse the reader in the setting. Written in two parts, the story flows smoothly from that of Vera to that of Alice, Vera’s daughter. There is a prologue with one sentence that demands explanation that will begin niggling at the reader as Alice’s story progresses in part two. Audio book listeners miss out on this, but for those who read the book with their eyes, don’t skip the informative Author’s Note for even more tidbits to enrich the story. (And the Acknowledgments. Thank YOU, Camille, for sharing your beautiful stories with us. I am honored.) My only complaint is that I wanted more of everything! The story spans many years, and I hated missing out on any of the delicious details that surely must have happened in the in-betweens. I think a novella just about Vera and Angelo is in order!

The narration, performed by Meredith Starkman, is well-done. I listened at 1.25x speed, which was perfect for me and didn’t alter the vibe of the story. Starkman’s voicing of male characters is especially good, and she handles both the Italian and German accents and pronunciations admirably. Vera and Pearl are perfection. In part two, Alice sounds a bit too modern-teenish rather than how I would imagine a teen in the ‘40s should sound. And Emmett seems creepy instead of mysterious, and I’m not sure he reads that way. Overall, Starkman does a great job of keeping the pace even and there are no glitches or mispronounced words that I noticed.  The style and pace of The Way of Beauty translate very well as an audio book.  

Thank you to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and the author for providing me the audio book and the eBook in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give.


“She might never be able to see the world, but all the world came to her through the tunnels of Penn Station.” 

“Why do people change their voices when speaking to someone in sorrow? As if death were played on the left side of the piano while life was played on the right.” 

“Being a strong woman didn't mean she couldn't accept assistance, especially when she really did need it.” 

“Our wrinkles tell our story, etched out like a road map. That’s the way of beauty. Birth, middle age, decline.” 

~Romance Writers of America Honor Roll Inductee~
Camille recently left an award-winning real estate career in San Antonio to become a full-time writer. Along with her husband of 19 years, she enjoys raising their four children. She has a bucket list that is never-ending and uses her adventures to inspire her writing. She's lived in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California, and spends enough time in Hawai'i to feel like a local. She's traveled to four continents (so far) and met Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. She just about fainted when she had a chance to meet her musical idol, Paul McCartney, too. Camille studied political science in college but found working on actual campaigns much more fun. She overdoses on goodies at farmer’s markets (justifying them by her support for local bakeries) and belts out Broadway tunes whenever the moment strikes. There's almost nothing she wouldn't try, so long as it doesn't involve heights, roller skates, or anything illegal. The Memory of Us was Camille's debut novel. Her second, Before the Rain Falls was released on May 16, 2017, and The Way of Beauty is her third novel.  

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MAY 1-10, 2018

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