HOW BEAUTIFUL THEY WERE

A novel about the American theatre of the 1850s.

“This taut chronicle of despair and hope poses a powerful lens over a transformative period of our past. Unrelenting and haunting, yet at times poetic, How Beautiful They Were is deeply inventive and an irresistible read.”
– Eliot Pattison, Edgar Award winning author of the Inspector Shan Series and the Bone Rattler series

“Boston Teran’s writing is incredible – simultaneously muscular, literate and poetic.  Sometimes we can forget how powerful good writing can be.  Teran’s words are like a beautiful punch in the face.  He may be the best writer working today…”
– Nick Cassavetes, film director of The Notebook and Alpha Dog

“Filled with evocative descriptions, compelling drama, and the backdrop of seasons passing through New York City’s 1800s culture, How Beautiful They Were is a captivating examination of life and death both on and off stage, and will delight not just general-interest novel readers, but those who hold a special affection for theatre history and New York City.”
– Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review


The New York theatre of that era was the Hollywood of its day, with all its trademark insanities. It was everything that was America. Its beauty and excitement, its rise and fall of personalities, its joys and desperations, selfish corruptions and violence. Even its hatred and racism.

Enter Colonel Tearwood’s American Theatre Company. Helmed by actor Nathanial Luck and playwright Robert Harrison, it revolutionizes the theatre of the times by bringing daily life to the stage: Love affairs, social corruption, political intrigue, violence and death grip the audience as backstage the players’ fortunes rise and fall and rise again in an all too human play. There’s dashing Nathaniel Luck, hunted for the Pickwick Paper murders; beautiful Genevieve Wells, a con artist and swindler; Rosina Swain, aspiring actress in search of a father; and Robert Harrison, scion of a wealthy family, who was burned and disfigured in the infamous Wall Street fire, and turns the ruins of his body into art. How beautiful they were…

THIS BOOK IS PART OF THE DEFIANT AMERICANS Series

Read an excerpt

Available October 15, 2019