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I found the narrative excellent and so aided the story.
I have read ‘Tigers in Red Weather’ by Liza Klaussmann and did not enjoy it. I decided to try Villa America and really enjoyed it for the pure level of escapism offered. In my opinion its far superior to the former. I felt the authors really brought the characters to life and I really felt part of the story. This is done through the description of the Villa, the historic setting, the clothes worn, the surrounding scenery, what they did to occupy themselves with such indulgence as the norm. Sara and Gerald Murphy were real people as were most of the characters in the novel. Historically accurate also was the Villa America and events. The Murphy’s held together a social circle of other interesting parties including Zelda & F Scott Fitzgerald, Picasso, Cole & Linda Porter and Ernest Hemingway. Liza Klaussmann takes their real lives and makes them the centre of this book. It is interesting to have suggestions of more reading material at end of the novel re Sara and Gerald.
Sara and Gerald want to create their own beautiful place at Villa America which is their home on the French Riviera. They gather artistic geniuses around them. They hold wild parties. Sara and Gerald change with their growing family as does the world around them. The repercussions are widespread with no one left untouched.
I loved the picnics and the drinking quantities of Sherry early in the morning to ward off the sun. This brought with it alcohol fuelled arguments. The driving was reckless for example one part of the story a car accident nearly happened as the driver was lighting a cigarette for the passenger while trying to negotiate the car going into a sharp bend in the road. The book is about relationships between the characters, family life. Betrayal happens as well as knowledge and sacrifice and what happens when the party is over. I found the character of Owen Chambers so interesting and was disappointed when I realised that his character was totally fictional. It was known that Gerald did struggle with his sexuality and obviously may have had an affair. I found the moving love story between Owen and Gerald really interesting to read.
Overall a very interesting read and one I would recommend
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