An Affair with Beauty － The Mystique of Howard Chandler Christy | Romantic Illusions
In the second book of the An Affair with Beauty trilogy, James Philip Head has penned the next part of artist Howard Chandler Christy’s life story. Romantic Illusions continues where The Magic of Youth ends, with Howard and his newest model, Nancy Palmer, at his Ohio childhood home over Christmas with Howard’s daughter Natalie. Nancy feels romantically for Howard but receives conflicting signals in return. Christy is America’s top illustrator and highly sought-after by magazines for his emotion-filled pictures of beautiful women and couples. At the Christy home, after numerous sittings for illustrations, Nancy inquires about Howard’s past, namely his time during the Spanish- American War, which he later memorialized in widely-circulated illustrations. Later, Howard also explains how his “Christy Girls” came about, and their competition with the “Gibson Girls” by fellow artist and friend Charles Dana Gibson in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries. When America enters World War I, Christy’s pro-bono work on war propaganda becomes vital in the sale of war bonds.
Meanwhile, Nancy rises to prominence as the most beautiful woman in New York, hand-picks her successor, and gets her wish of becoming Mrs. Howard Chandler Christy after Howard’s long-standing and nasty divorce from his first wife and first model Maebelle.
I really enjoyed this book! I found it educational and informative. It reads like a romance novel, and knowing that it is based on real people and situations does not take away the suspense. Throughout each of Howard’s experiences, you can’t help but feel for him one way or another. James Philip Head did a wonderful and very professional job of finding out everything about Christy and arranging it in a very readable novel. I believe that learning more about past figureheads in America can help us have a greater appreciation for their work and understand that, while some things in life were similar in the late 1800s and early 1900s, most things were quite different. The good that was done by people of the past can help shape current generations, and we may learn from the mistakes of historical figures.
|North Loop Books
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|Architecture & Photography