For almost a century, the world (this list writer included!) has been fascinated by Zelda Fitzgerald, the tempestuous and troubled wife of one of America’s most beloved writers. The epitome of a flapper, her legacy of rebellion and glamour are practically synonymous with the era. Now it seems that she’s getting the credit she deserves with a miniseries to bring her story to life. Here are some binge-worthy books about Zelda Fitzgerald to keep you going long after the finale.
It seems odd to start a list about Zelda Fitzgerald with a book that isn’t about her, but Caroline Preston’s novel is equally important, as it revolves around the first love of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life, Ginevra. The two met while Scott was a student at Princeton and she is thought to have inspired the character of Daisy Buchanan. Preston imagines Ginevra’s life after their relationship, as she marries another man, becomes a mother, and watches her former love ascend and then, just as quickly, fall from grace.
Though expats Sara and Gerald Murphy are rarely remembered alongside their more famous counterparts, the Fitzgeralds and the Hemingways, they played vital roles in the Lost Generation. VILLA AMERICA vividly brings to life the lavish paradise of champagne, romance, and secrets on the French Riviera that they created for themselves and their friends, until a young American aviator arrived and changed everything.
If all of Zelda’s shenanigans have you feeling a bit rebellious, Judith Mackrell’s group biography of six women who defined the Roaring Twenties, Fitzgerald included, will be the perfect pick. Though they came from vastly different backgrounds, they all collided in Jazz Age Paris, where they challenged conventions and changed the definition of what it means to be a modern woman.
Zelda’s breakdowns and tragic end are a big part of her legend. CALL ME ZELDA confronts her difficult time in a Baltimore clinic in 1932 through the eyes of a nurse, Anna Howard. As she watches Zelda move between madness and lucidity, Anna becomes privy to her most intimate confessions and memories, which leads her to wonder who the true genius in the Fitzgerald marriage was.
Was Zelda destined for madness, or did the Fitzgeralds’ dysfunctional relationship lead to her undoing? R. Clifton Spargo seeks to answer this question in his heartbreaking novel, BEAUTIFUL FOOLS. Despite the fact that he has been living in Hollywood and having a long-term affair, Scott takes Zelda to Cuba for one last trip in an attempt to save their relationship.
It’s generally believed that Scott and Zelda’s relationship inspired THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE DAMNED, which followed his massive hit TENDER IS THE NIGHT. Anthony Patch, an Army serviceman and heir to a tycoon’s fortune, meets and marries the wild, passionate (and sometimes selfish) Gloria Gilbert. What follows is a roller-coaster relationship that rivals its real-life counterpart.