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The Last Collection by Jeanne Mackin - Book Tour + Giveaway

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The Last Collection
by Jeanne Mackin 


GENRE: Historical Romance



An American woman becomes entangled in the intense rivalry between iconic fashion designers Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli in this captivating novel from the acclaimed author of The Beautiful American.

Paris, 1938. Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli are fighting for recognition as the most successful and influential fashion designer in France, and their rivalry is already legendary. They oppose each other at every turn, in both their politics and their designs: Chanel’s are classic, elegant, and practical; Schiaparelli’s bold, experimental, and surreal.

When Lily Sutter, a recently widowed young American teacher, visits her brother, Charlie, in Paris, he insists on buying her a couture dress—a Chanel. Lily, however, prefers a Schiaparelli. Charlie’s beautiful and socially prominent girlfriend soon begins wearing Schiaparelli’s designs as well, and much of Paris follows in her footsteps. 

Schiaparelli offers budding artist Lily a job at her store, and Lily finds herself increasingly involved with Schiaparelli and Chanel’s personal war. Their fierce competition reaches new and dangerous heights as the Nazis and the looming threat of World War II bear down on Paris.


"Sophisticated couture wars and looming world wars take center stage in Mackin’s latest, with a plot that buzzes with love triangles and political intrigue. A gorgeous meditation on art, fashion, and heartbreak. Stunning."

--Fiona Davis, national bestselling author of The Masterpiece

“Exquisitely melding world politics and high fashion, THE LAST COLLECTION is a smart, witty, heartfelt, and riveting look at the infamous rivalry between Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli set against a gripping period in history. Mackin’s powerful novel brings these characters to life and transports the reader, juxtaposing both the gaiety and tension of Paris on the brink of war. As elegant and captivating as the designs depicted in the novel, THE LAST COLLECTION is the perfect read for both historical fiction lovers and fashion aficionados. Simply stunning.”

--Chanel Cleeton, USA Today bestselling author of Next Year in Havana

“A wonderful story of two intensely creative women, their vibrant joie de vivre, and backbiting competition played out against the increasingly ominous threat of the Nazi invasion of Paris. Seamless research makes every character leap to life and kept me totally engaged from beginning to end.

--Shelley Noble, New York Times bestselling author of Lighthouse Beach

“A vibrant portrait of two designers cut from very different cloth, Jeanne Mackin’s THE LAST COLLECTION pits bold Coco Chanel and colorful Elsa Schiaparelli against each other in a fiery feud even as the ominous clouds of World War II darken the horizon. A captivating read!”

--Stephanie Marie Thornton, author of American Princess

"As Hitler and the Nazis gather strength and the world braces for war, Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel, whose politics differ as much as their couture, wage a war of their own. Lily Sutter, the woman who finds herself in the middle of their feud, has a battle of her own as she struggles to make a new start amidst extreme grief and loss. From New York to Paris, Jeanne Mackin takes the reader on an enthralling journey, complete with such vivid descriptions of the clothing, you can practically see them on the page. Beautifully rendered and meticulously researched, THE LAST COLLECTION is a must read."

--Renée Rosen, author of Park Avenue Summer


At the ball that night there were people whose faces I recognized, a blur of memory from my first evening in Paris at the Ritz, and many more people whom I didn’t recognize at all, men with military posture, women covered with jewels, men in dresses, women in tuxedos, ingénues in pastel gowns. And Charlie and Ania, beautiful Charlie and Ania, so immersed in each other’s gaze they could have been alone rather than dancing through crowded rooms.

…Coco arrived around eleven, in a diaphanous green gown that looked like fern fronds moving in a breeze when she moved.  It was Coco, blending into nature, but still Coco.

Schiap arrived soon after, dressed, as she had promised, as a tree, covered in a rough brown cloth that looked like tree bark, with branches extending from her arms and the crown of her head. Several cloth and feather birds perched on her shoulders. Whimsical, humorous, always-make-it-look easy Schiap.  Schiap got the louder applause when she made her entrance, and I saw Coco’s smile fade.

Who knew what was going through Coco’s mid that evening? Perhaps she had dreamed the night before of the orphanage, the father who had abandoned her and the mother who had died.

Pehaps she wasn’t thinking at all but only reacting, the way dry wood reacts when a match is put to it.


If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?
First, thanks for inviting me to your page.  You know, this is a tough question. Writers, I think, tend to be risk takers in their emotions, and taking risks often means hurting other people. There are so many people I probably should apologize to, my mother among them. But I think, giving the chance, I would apologize to my fourth grade boyfriend, Jimmie.  He tried to kiss me once during recess and I slapped him.  No reason.  But I’d been reading a romance, and that was often what women did when men tried to kiss them. He didn’t know I was just reacting to something I’d read, not him. Poor kid. Glad to say, he went on and had a marvelous life without me.

  If you could keep a mythical/ paranormal creature as a pet, what would you have?
Lovely question.  I have a reprint of a twelfth century bestiary full of entrancing creatures, and from this bestiary I would chose to have, for inspiration, the aquila, or eagle.  According to the medieval legends, the eagle, when its eyesight began to fail, would find a fountain, fly over it up to heaven, then fly back down, renewed.  As a writer, I wish I could do this! Sometimes, when writer fatigue sets in, we need our vision restored. I imagine this aquila hunkered down on my desk, fluttering its wings at me and saying ‘Look. You need a break.  Let’s find a fountain and go flying!”

How do you keep your writing different from all the others that write in this particular genre?
I don’t even think about that, when I’m working or after. Every character, every plot, has to have its own identity.  It is the writer’s job to stay true to the character and true to the plot. If, though, when I’m writing something sounds too familiar, either in plot or character, I’ll remind myself to take things a step deeper, to dig harder for a truth, an insight.  We bring ourselves to the work, and we are each unique. The work, if we are honest and and willing to take a few chances, will also be unique.

What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?
Believe it or not, the best advice I’ve ever received was not to write sentences all the same length.  It sounds elementary.  It is. But I tend to write long, and this mentor was reminding me that language is music as well as meaning. Every sentence shouldn’t be a march. Some should be a waltz or polka, a little three-step instead of a parade.  The worst advice I ever received?  Wait for inspiration to strike. Don’t. 

Are the experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Absolutely.  When I began writing this book, my best friend of many years had just died and I honestly didn’t know if I could write anymore. The grief that Lily feels for her dead husband was my grief for my friend, transformed.  Lily needs to be leave mourning behind and return to the living, and I needed the exact same thing.  As for the setting, Paris just before and during World War II, I write about Paris because I love the city. If I could be anywhere, at any time, it would probably be Paris, so I go there in my imagination.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Jeanne Mackin ‘s latest novel, The Last Collection, A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel takes the reader to Paris, just before world war II, and the intense, dangerous rivalry between the two queens of fashion. Her previous novels include A Lady of Good Family, the award winning The Beautiful American, The Sweet By and By, Dreams of Empire, The Queen’s War, and The Frenchwoman. 
Her historical fictions explore the lives of strong women who change their worlds…because we know the world always needs a lot of change! She has worked all the traditional ‘writers’ jobs’ from waitressing to hotel maid, anything that would leave her a few hours each morning for writing. Most recently, she taught creative writing at the graduate level.  She has traveled widely, in Europe and the Middle East and can think of no happier moment than sitting in a Paris café, drinking coffee or a Pernod, and simply watching, while scribbling in a notebook.


One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card.

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