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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Villa America by Liza Klaussmann

*Psst* Click the picture to find a copy

I picked up this book months and months ago at Strand in New York. I've been reading a lot of historical fiction, mostly surrounding the early 1900s, and I've enjoyed them all quite a bit. So it only seemed natural to pick this one up next! 

When I decided to read Villa America, I thought it sounded like a beautiful story – and the writing is fabulous, as well. I'd never heard of the real-life Gerald and Sara Murphy before this book, but now I can't wait to read everything out there about their lives. Plus, the end flaps mention appearances from Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald and the Hemingways so I knew I wanted to read it. As soon as I began the book I spent all week Googling pictures of the real Villa America and the parties the Murphys hosted! 

This book was very well researched, but is definitely a historical fiction. There's a character that Klaussmann created named Owen. He's a pilot who becomes very intertwined in all of the characters' lives. I really enjoyed reading his POV, peering into the glamorous and fascinating lives of the Murphys and all their guests. It reminded me of Nick Carraway's character in the Great Gatsby – the outlier and observer of the Lost Generation and all its players.

This book has strong LGBT plot lines for multiple characters and some very trying marriages. It's an interesting look into the social orders of the time: divorce and homosexuality were frowned upon, while sending women to mental clinics for acting out was commonplace. Klaussmann presents all of these scenarios in this intricately woven story. 

Pro Tip: Read the Author's note! It really shows how much research went into this story and gives some awesome recommendations for other books you can read to learn about the Murphys and their friends. I've added a ton of them to my Amazon Wish List!

Love you lots,

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