"An utterly engrossing portrayal of Zelda Fitzgerald and the legendary circles in which she moved. In the spirit of Loving Frank and The Paris Wife, Therese Anne Fowler shines a light on Zelda instead of her more famous husband, providing both justice and the voice she struggled to have heard in her lifetime."
"Picture a late-May morning in 1918, a time when Montgomery wore her prettiest spring dress and finest floral perfume - same as I would wear that evening...."
Thus begins the story of beautiful, reckless, 17-year-old Zelda Sayre on the day she meets Lieutenant Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald at a country club dance. Fitzgerald isn’t rich or settled; no one knows his people; and he wants, of all things, to be a writer in New York. No matter how wildly in love they may be, Zelda’s father firmly opposes the match. But when Scott finally sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, Zelda defies her parents to board a train to New York and marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Life is a sudden whirl of glamour and excitement: Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel - and his beautiful, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, trades in her provincial finery for daring dresses, and plunges into the endless party that welcomes the darlings of the literary world to New York, then Paris and the French Riviera. It is the Jazz Age, when everything seems new and possible - except that dazzling success does not always last.
Surrounded by a thrilling array of magnificent hosts and mercurial geniuses - including Sara and Gerald Murphy, Gertrude Stein, and the great and terrible Ernest Hemingway - Zelda and Scott find the future both grander and stranger than they could have ever imagined.
©2013 Therese Anne Fowler (P)2013 Macmillan
Great Narration! I was not familiar with the story of the Fitzgeralds, unlike many who reviewed this book, but I learned a lot about them. I really appreciate that the author brought to life both the highs and lows of their life together.
Zelda Sayre was a seventeen-year-old Southern belle when she met Scott in 1918. After Scott sold This Side of Paradise the two married and began the decadent life for which they are now well-known. Known as the quintessential Jazz Age couple, these two did nothing halfway. They partied hard, fought hard, hit rock bottom more than once, and were forever on the move.
The Fitzgeralds are known for their excessive alcohol intake, Scott's writer's block, money problems, and bouts with mental illness. Therese Anne Fowler fleshes out these details and connects them with living, breathing individuals. I found Zelda to be a very sympathetic character in Fowler's hands. I think many women can relate to the conflict between Zelda's desire to make something of herself and the expectations placed upon her by family and society. Scott, for all his contributions to modernist literature, is not particularly modern in his ideas of family life. Fowler also does a nice job conveying the Fitzgerald's codependency. The Fitzgerald's really were a mess. I can definitely understand why Zelda ended up having a breakdown. I feel for everyone who suffered from a mental illness in the past. The reeducation portions of the book, in particular, just sicken me.
I love reading about the other famous folk that Fitzgerald's partied with: The Steins, the Murphys, Picasso and Olga, Ford Maddox Ford, and many more. Ernest Hemingway comes across as a colossal jerk in Z.
Zelda was a talented person in her own right. She published many short stories (though several also include Scott's name on the byline) and a novel, and she was an artist and a ballet dancer.
I loved the audiobook performance. I highly recommend it.
This story is beautifully written and Jenna Lamia's soft Southern accent pours out of her mouth like honey. Therese Anne Fowler has written something so exquisite, that I feel as if I know Zelda Fitzgerald, now. I KNOW her. My heart is completely full.
I've read reviews that complain that it is not accurate, but the author clarifies that this is fiction based on real people. Without giving thought into that, I enjoyed it as a good romance and insight into the life of a very interesting woman in a very interesting age. I enjoyed veru much the reading by Jenna Lamia and I think that definitely contributed to situating my mind on the context and feeling closer to Zelda.
I was really excited to read this, but every time I try I fall asleep. The reader's voice is like a lullaby. I will keep trying, but sleeping kind of gets in the way of being able to really enjoy/review this book.
A satisfying but not brilliant re-working of the sad story of Zelda Fitzgerald. Enjoyable certainly, but no 'Paris Wife.' Worth the effort for the small sections of interesting writing.
The narration is good, though the Southern accent got slightly cloying at times.
This story is a fascinating study of the life in 1920s Paris literary community. It touches on the creative process of writers, alcoholism, the decadence of the times and mental illness. The central character, Zelda Fitzgerald is isolated by her husband's obsession with writing, his fame and his alcoholism. Of interest is her struggle to find her own identity in the oppressive shadow of her husband's success while dealing mental illness.
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