After just three pages, I knew I would love A Good American by Alex George. We meet Frederick and Jette at the beginning of their love affair in the early 1900s and we follow their family’s story through the present. I fell for Frederick right along with Jette and loved reading about the family & home they created in America. If you enjoy historical fiction and family sagas, then definitely read this book.
When Frederick and Jette must flee her disapproving mother, where better to go than America, the land of the new? Originally set to board a boat to New York, at the last minute, they take one destined for New Orleans instead (“What’s the difference? They’re both new“), and later find themselves, more by chance than by design, in the small town of Beatrice, Missouri. Not speaking a word of English, they embark on their new life together.
Beatrice is populated with unforgettable characters: a jazz trumpeter from the Big Easy who cooks a mean gumbo, a teenage boy trapped in the body of a giant, a pretty schoolteacher who helps the young men in town learn about a lot more than just music, a minister who believes he has witnessed the Second Coming of Christ, and a malevolent, bicycle-riding dwarf.
Check out the author’s website for a playlist of music featured in the book, discussion questions for book clubs, and recipes!