The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

Villa America


Liza Klaussmann has researched and written an incredible story about Gerald and Sara Murphy. Before reading Villa America (B+) I was unaware of this couple that interacted with the likes of F Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemmingway.

Gerald’s father owned the very prosperous Mark Cross Company that neither he nor his brother were interested in running. Sara Wiborg, also from an extremely wealthy family, fell in love with Gerald. Regardless of the wishes of their families, Gerald married Sara. She was his confidant, understanding him better than anyone else could. They moved to the French Riviera where Gerald painted and Sara entertained with lavish and exotic parties. Together they raised a family of three children and built an enormous house that they named Villa America.

The life they lead there is written in fictional detail in this great historic novel. Some of their famous friends included Archibald MacLeish who wrote his play J. B. based on this friendship. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, Tender is the Night, also relates to Sara and Gerald’s life. Hemmingway, Picasso and John Dos Passos were included in their social circle too.

I found this novel rich and entertaining. It added to the many things I have read and learned about people like the Hemmingways (The Paris Wife) and Zelda Fitzgerald (Zelda). It was fun and interesting to the very end and allowed me into their lives for just a little while.

So if you like historical fiction and a bit of gossip, this one is definitely for you.


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