Book Review: Villa America by Liza Klaussmann
Villa America by Liza Klaussmann
Set in the roaring 1920s, Villa America follows the hospitable couple Sara and Gerald Murphy, who opened up their home on the French Riviera to artists and writers. Guests returned to them year after year, some to stay, some to join in their fabulous parties. Their parties were legendary, and among their famous guests was Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
This is a beautifully written book, one that captivated until the final page. Sara and Gerald Murphy were the inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic book Tender is the Night, and they were the couple that everyone wanted to know. Villa America is firmly their novel, from their secret courtship, to raising a family – and to the tragedy that nearly destroyed them. This is a riveting read that perfectly captures this period of history, along with the many unique artists and writers they met. It is billed as a story of ‘great art, great loss, and great love’ and I think the novel hits all these notes with surety. We are also introduced to another character early on in the plot, pilot Owen Chambers, who is an entirely imaginary person, but a complicated individual who adds an interesting element to this intelligent novel.