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Villa America    by Liza Klaussmann order for
Villa America
by Liza Klaussmann
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Jessica Maguire

What an interesting read! Author and great-great-great granddaughter of Herman Melville, Liza Klaussmann, has done a beautiful job mixing fiction with real places, inspired by real-life models.

The setting, Villa America, is a real place, built in the 1920s on the French Riveria by the Murphys, Sara and Gerald (the couple was also the inspiration behind characters in Tender Is The Night by Fitzgerald.

In this novel the Murphys are well known for their lavishly extravagant soirees, held for a group of American expats. What could possibly be amiss in a life of grandeur and plenty in the 1920s? Not very much, seemingly, until the arrival of aviator Owen Chambers.

The arrival of Owen turns Gerald's world upside down, and life, as it was, will never be the same again. Touted as a novel about both marriage and a lost generation, I found Villa America to be a most gripping novel.

I love the marriage of fact with fiction and the glamour of the '20s. But not all is glamour and good times, which I find to be part of the appeal of this novel. With the pleasure comes pain, with the parties come heartbreak, unbearable at times. The roller coaster ups and downs of life are beautifully captured in a handsomely romantic setting resulting in a novel you can easily lose yourself in.

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