What Caroline Knew: A Novel

Front Cover
Macmillan, Mar 7, 2006 - Fiction - 230 pages
Beautiful, elegant, wealthy, and charming, Caroline has an effect on every male who crosses her path. As a young woman in the 1920s, she is drawn to the freedom of the Jazz Age, yet chooses a safe marriage that restores her to the proper Edith Wharton-like society to which she was born. Restless in her conventional role, she discovers the Bohemian art world and meets Nicholas Leone, the dashing, handsome, brilliant young painter who will change her life.
She becomes his patron and plans his first big exhibition, where Nick unveils his masterpiece - a shocking nude portrait of Caroline in a compromising position. Did she pose for the painting? Was she involved in a great love affair? Or is she a victim of her own generosity?
Horrified, betrayed, and almost ruined socially, Caroline insists on defending her innocence, a decision that ensnares those closest to her: her adoring younger brother, Will; the powerful district attorney, Lawrence Sloane; and her loyal husband, Harry. The secrets, lies, and manipulations that result will haunt her for the rest of her life, following her into the new era of the 1960s and beyond - until this great masterpiece of art, missing for decades, is unveiled for a second time.

What people are saying - Write a review


User Review  - Kirkus

In her second novel (Glorie, 1998), a New York Times culture critic travels back to the 1920s to tell a story of uptown society and the downtown art scene.Caroline Stephens is an heiress and socialite ... Read full review


The Trial
Nicks Ghost
The Painting

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

James is the chief television critic for The New York Times.

Bibliographic information