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The Night She Won Miss America Summary and Reviews

The Night She Won Miss America

by Michael Callahan

The Night She Won Miss America by Michael Callahan X
The Night She Won Miss America by Michael Callahan
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  • Published Apr 2017
    336 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

Inspired by a true story, a young woman is swept up in the glamour and excitement of chasing the title of Miss America 1950—only to vanish the night she wins.

Betty Jane Welch reluctantly enters the Miss Delaware contest to make her mother happy, only to surprisingly find herself the judges' choice. Just like that, she's catapulted into the big time, the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City.

Luckily, her pageant-approved escort for the week is the dashing but mercurial Griffin McAllister, and she falls for him hard. But when the spirited Betty unexpectedly wins the crown and sash, she finds she may lose what she wants most: Griff's love. To keep him, she recklessly agrees to run away together. From the flashy carnival of the Boardwalk to the shadowy streets of Manhattan to a cliffside mansion in gilded Newport, the chase is on as the cops and a scrappy reporter secretly in love with the beauty queen threaten to unravel everything--and expose Griff's darkest secret.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A wild tale ... Early in her pageant experience, Betty muses that 'Miss America does odd things to people.' Clearly, she had no idea. Callahan creates a story that is brisk-paced and fluid." - Kirkus Reviews

"Callahan has crafted an intriguing suspense story marrying the frothy, fashion-fueled pageant world with the secrets people have to live with." - Booklist

"This plot-driven story blends aspects of romance, mystery, and thriller... Fans of mid-century drama, beauty queens, and gripping romance will enjoy this adventurous read." - School Library Journal

"Romance, intrigue, suspense—Michael Callahan's latest has it all, and that's not even counting the glorious, heady world of the Miss America pageant in its heyday. Loosely inspired by real events, The Night She Won Miss America grabs you from the first chapter and takes you on a wild journey beginning in Atlantic City and ending in a showdown on a rocky cliff worthy of Hitchcock. But the heart of the book always remains its remarkable protagonist, a naïve young woman whose passions come to the surface with remarkable ferocity the moment the crown is placed on her head and never really let her—or us—go."—Melanie Benjamin, New York Times best-selling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue

"I can't remember the last time I got so caught up in a novel. Michael Callahan's gorgeous prose brings to life an intoxicating world of beauty queens and thwarted dreams that will sweep you away in a whirlwind of intrigue, passion, and secrets." - Matthew Pearl, best-selling author of The Dante Club and The Last Bookaneer

This information about The Night She Won Miss America was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Lillianne Tiger

Blech.
In the hands of a good writer this would have made interesting reading. Callahan just makes it ordinary in his melodramatic and overwrought telling. I can imagine this appealing to the romance novel crowd. The handsome boy/man, the beautiful and feisty, yet naive girl/woman falling “deeply” in love in record time. Griff’s turning virginal Betty into a raging hormonal furnace. Money seeming to be no object. Our heroine saved from rape by the intrepid hero who murders the rapist (perhaps because an episode of his schizophrenia has suddenly overtaken him.) Stock secondary characters that, I presume, are to give salt to the stew. And our heroine agonizing over her choices. One can envision her with hand on forehead saying, “what have I done?”, but being feisty and smart, albeit naive, she keeps calm and carries on. A waste of time.

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Author Information

Michael Callahan

Michael Callahan is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and the author of the novel Searching for Grace Kelly. A former deputy editor at Town & Country and Marie Claire, he has written for more than two dozen national and international publications, including ELLE, Departures, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Hollywood Reporter, and the New York Times. He lives in Philadelphia.   

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