"Liza Klaussmann's VILLA AMERICA is so artful and compassionate that I couldn't fail to love the Murphys and everyone who fell into their orbit during those Lost Generation years, all of them fascinating and flawed and human. This is a beautifully rendered story."-Therese Anne Fowler, author of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
"What a gorgeous and profoundly moving book. I've been obsessed with the Murphys since I was a young teen...and Liza Klaussmann's novel felt both like it was utterly 'true' to their legend and yet also new and vital. I can't wait for the whole world to get to read it."-Megan Abbott, author of The Fever
"Klaussmann is a magnificent storyteller. Luminous, rich and superbly plotted, VILLA AMERICA swept me up into the deeply human, beautifully drawn lives of the Murphys and their dazzling circles of friends and family. This novel moves at a gallop but I kept stopping to marvel at the subtlety, the grace and the firework prose. I absolutely loved it."-Priya Parmar, author of Vanessa and Her Sister
"Another sensitive fictional portrait of a complicated marriage from the author of Tigers in Red Weather.... Klaussmann makes good use of several fine biographies of the Murphys (cited in an author's note) to capture the magic of a privileged, bohemian existence.... Beautifully written and surprisingly fresh."-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Tense, seductive fiction.... Impressively done."-Sunday Times (UK)
"Real-life figures of the jazz age throw parties on the French Riviera in this exhilarating blend of fact and fiction."-Lucy Scholes, Guardian
"Psychologically lush and gorgeously descriptive.... As disruptive love, betrayal, and cruel fate slowly gain cyclonic force, Klaussmann brings to scintillating and searing life scenes as wildly diverse as a dust storm, trench warfare, the bliss of being airborne above the radiant French countryside, the brittle gaiety of Sara's galas, and forbidden sexual bliss. In literary accord with Paula McLain, Nancy Horan, and Susan Vreeland, Klaussmann presents an enrapturing historical novel about a loving marriage complicated by suppressed desire in a time of now-legendary creative ferment."-Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)
"Propelled by the drama-filled foibles of nearly every prominent lost generation figure a history buff could wish for, Klaussmann's atmospheric prose contains a treasure trove of trivia for fans of the era.... Readers who are looking for a trip back in time will find this an ideal beach read."-Publishers Weekly
"Intriguing and tender to the bone."-Kim Hubbard, People "Book of the Week"
"An enthralling read from the first page-an absolute must for anyone who loves Hemingway and Fitzgerald and all the rest of the Lost Generation."-Beatriz Williams, Serendipity
"Empathetic [and] beautifully written.... In Liza Klaussmann's skilled and sensitive new novel, the Murphys' famous sociability becomes intriguingly fraught, the expression of a loving, complicated marriage whose intricacies she investigates with the same emotional acumen displayed in her 2012 debut novel, Tigers in Red Weather."-Wendy Smith, Washington Post
"John Dos Passos, Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway, and their spouses come alive in this richly detailed tale of friendships, creative rivalry, romance, drunkenness, and tragedy.... This is an engrossing read, sure to be popular with lovers of historical fiction who enjoyed Paula McLain's The Paris Wife."-Elizabeth Safford, Library Journal (starred review)
"A vivid and affecting portrait of the couple and their raucous times, as well as one of the saddest, most romantic historical novels you'll read this year. 'A'"-Amy Wilkinson, Entertainment Weekly
"Klaussmann's prose, like her main characters, sparkles with exuberance."-Historical Novel Society
"The novel has many truly lovely moments.... Worth a read for fans of the era."-Shawna Seed, Dallas Morning News
"One of the summer's loveliest reads."-Sherryl Connelly, New York Daily News
"Very much a novel about marriage.... A tribute to [the Murphys'] effort to create a paradise as well as a sorrowful recognition of the impossibility of doing so."-Margaret Quamme, Columbus Dispatch
"Compelling...[a] wonderfully textured account of the lives of Sara and Gerald Murphy."-Sukey Howard, BookPage
Former New York Times reporter Klaussmann delighted us with her 2012 debut, Tigers in Red Weather, about a post-World War II marital crisis with classy, sun-streaked Martha's Vineyard as backdrop. Here she ambitiously chooses to retell the glorious French Riviera days of Sara and Gerald Murphy, those joie de vivre expats whom F. Scott Fitzgerald immortalized in Tender Is the Night. Serious fun, and Klaussmann should pull it off; Tigers was an international best seller for which she won a British National Book Award and the Elle Grand Prix for Fiction, and she was named Amazon UK's Rising Star of the Year in 2012. With a 75,000-copy first printing.
Another sensitive fictional portrait of a complicated marriage from the author of Tigers in Red Weather (2012). This time Klaussmann has real-life models: Gerald and Sara Murphy, whose 1920s golden years on the French Riviera inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is the Night. Her novel begins with Gerald's loveless childhood in 1890s Manhattan; a harrowing chapter about the loss of his adored dog lays the groundwork for his bond with Sara, first seen as a bored post-debutante in pre-World War I London. Their early love is touchingly depicted as shared desire for a life "entirely of our own creation," which is what they achieve at the eponymous Cap d'Antibes villa. Klaussmann makes good use of several fine biographies of the Murphys (cited in an author's note) to capture the magic of a privileged, bohemian existence dedicated to the pleasures of fine food and drink, friendship, and self-expression through the elegant, idiosyncratic clothes they wear and their beautiful home furnishings. She also draws on nonfictional references to Gerald's ambiguous sexuality to imagine a passionate affair with pilot Owen Chambers, an invented character. Down-to-earth Owen offers a reality check on the nonstop house parties with famous friends (Scott and Zelda, Ernest, Cole, and many more of the usual Lost Generation suspects): "The spectacle and the costumes…the endless conversations about ideas, and the misunderstandings. Could you live without that?" Owen asks. Probably not; Gerald remains devoted to Sara (who knows more than she will admit about him and Owen) and the world they've fashioned. Their son Patrick's struggle with tuberculosis brings an end to the halcyon days at Villa America. A welter of letters chronicling the Murphys' ordeal slightly blurs the novel's focus in later chapters but also testifies to the profound, enduring affection they prompted in all who knew them. A closing vignette poignantly revisits the couple in the heyday of their campaign to make life as beautiful as their dreams. Beautifully written and surprisingly fresh given the well-worn subject matter.