Release Date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
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Summary: 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, seventeen-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.
My Favorite Lines:
Why I Loved It: In all honesty, I should say before my review that I don't know much about Zelda Fitzgerald. All I really knew about F. Scott Fitzgerald was just from reading some of his work. In all honesty, my love of Midnight in Paris is what made me click request on NetGalley. My enjoyment of this book has nothing to do with accuracy of the historical information.
I wasn't sure what to expect in this book. The time period though is such an interesting time. The 20's? It was just interesting time in our history. Prohibition. The first world war. New York. And then the book goes into Paris and other parts of France, Italy, and others. I love books that allow me to explore the world outside the great state of Texas. I really thought that the author did a great job of capturing the blurring world that Scott and Zelda faced.
As a story, the book was pretty awesome. The story was powerful, and I felt all these crazy swirling emotions throughout Zelda's fight with her world, her role as a woman, and the wife of a great and troubled writer. Living in the world now, I can't imagine what it must have really been like for women. Many people would be disappointed to find that I am not really a feminist. But I do understand that it's hard to criticize a world in which I didn't live. I really appreciated the character that Zelda represented.
Many would really appreciate the relationship between Scott and Zelda. There was a lot of love there, but there was also a bit of toxicity. The relationship was just as bad for them as there was good. Watching them love each other and yet slowly tear each other apart was incredibly heartbreaking to witness through the pages. Seeing the different characters that we have come to recognize through their work in the book was also really interesting. Characters like Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Gerald and Sara Murphy, Ezra Pound, Picasso, and many others fill the book. I really appreciate that kind of thing.
I know that my review isn't a super clear image of what the book is. Let me try to summarize. Zelda Fitzgerald was the wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald, a great writer from the 20's. She was also a dancer, an artist, and a writer herself. She would discover so much about who she is throughout the story, but she is also faced with the conflicts such discoveries have with the role that women were to play during that time. As a daughter of the South, Scott promised her a world of adventure. Still at the end of a tumultuous adventure, even in the midst of mental instability made worse by misdiagnosis, she kept a strength and dignity that I respected. The story is powerful and emotional and the writing, to me, was beautiful. It's a great story, and it makes me want to read some biographies and read some of Zelda's work.
Who Should Read It: In all honesty, I would recommend this to those who love historical fiction. I can't vouch for historical accuracy, but it was an interesting story. With the new Gatsby movie coming out, I thought the book being published was great timing!