The Swans of Fifth Avenue

Of all the glamorous stars of New York high society, none blazes brighter than Babe Paley. Her flawless face regularly graces the pages of Vogue, and she is celebrated and adored for her ineffable style and exquisite taste, especially among her friends—the alluring socialite Swans Slim Keith, C. Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness, and Pamela Churchill. By all appearances, Babe has it all: money, beauty, glamour, jewels, influential friends, a high-profile husband, and gorgeous homes. But beneath this elegantly composed exterior dwells a passionate woman—a woman desperately longing for true love and connection.

Enter Truman Capote. This diminutive golden-haired genius with a larger-than-life personality explodes onto the scene, setting Babe and her circle of Swans aflutter. Through Babe, Truman gains an unlikely entrée into the enviable lives of Manhattan’s elite, along with unparalleled access to the scandal and gossip of Babe’s powerful circle. Sure of the loyalty of the man she calls “True Heart,” Babe never imagines the destruction Truman will leave in his wake. But once a storyteller, always a storyteller—even when the stories aren’t his to tell.

Truman’s fame is at its peak when such notable celebrities as Frank and Mia Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, and Rose Kennedy converge on his glittering Black and White Ball. But all too soon, he’ll ignite a literary scandal whose repercussions echo through the years. The Swans of Fifth Avenue will seduce and startle readers as it opens the door onto one of America’s most sumptuous eras.


“…this moving fictionalization brings the whole cast of characters back to vivid life. Gossipy and fun, it’s also a nuanced look at the beauty and cruelty of a rarefied, bygone world.”
People Magazine, Book of the Week

“Fans of vintage New York glamour who loved books such as Amor Towles’s Rules of Civility will relish this chance to experience vicariously the lives (and fashion choices!) of the city’s rich and famous. Benjamin convincingly portrays a large cast of colorful historical figures while crafting a compelling, gossipy narrative with rich emotional depth. Highly recommended.”
Library Journal, Starred Review

“Elegant Babe’s thoughts, if not her lips, are unsealed at last.”
Kirkus Reviews
“Benjamin’s fact-based narrative captures the era’s juiciest scandals and wildest extravagances.”
Publishers Weekly
“I am reading—and swooning over—The Swans of Fifth Avenue… It’s a juicy story of the friendship between Truman Capote and socialite Babe Paley. Her friends, known to Truman as ‘the Swans,’ include Slim Keith, C. Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness and Pamela Churchill. The editor advised in her opening note that I would find myself googling all the characters as I read—and she has been soooo right.”
Book Reporter
“Benjamin has given us a compelling look at an American icon, a talented yet vulnerable man, and the complex woman he loved in his own distinctive way.”
Philly Inquirer

“The strange and fascinating relationship between Truman Capote and his ‘swans’—Babe, Slim, Gloria and the other social x-ray women of the era are wonderfully re-imagined in this engrossing novel where everyone behaves so badly and yet has so much fun. It’s a credit to Benjamin that we end up caring so much for these women of power, grace and beauty—and for Capote, too.”
—Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants

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