Now take a look at this fabulous cover! Just gorgeous. CALL ME ZELDA, by Erika Robuck, is just divine. In keeping with my recent interest in The Roaring Twenties, Erika brings Zelda Fitzgerald to life through the eyes and voice of a character named Anna who could have been Zelda’s nurse in her later years.
Since the movie, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, and the novel ,THE PARIS WIFE, the 1920’s have never been more in the forefront. In fact, it is just so exciting to find delicious books like this to give us even more information about the people and era it represents. I find the character of Zelda especially vibrant and interesting. And Robuck has certainly done her homework with this knockout novel.
Who knew much about Zelda Fitzgerald? Not me. Not until I saw the movie, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. It sure piqued my interest. Then Theresa Fowler came out with her amazing novel, Z: A NOVEL OF ZELDA FITZGERALD. Now Erika Robuck has taken it to yet another level. I am thrilled.
Anna is Zelda’s nurse. Zelda needs a nurse because she suffers from mental illness. It’s 1932, Zelda’s been institutionalized in a psychiatric hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. But when Scott decides she needs to be home with him, Anna gives up her position at the facility, tosses caution to the wind, and goes to work for the Fitzgeralds in their home. Zelda can’t be left alone for any length of time. Her husband, Scott, can not take care of her without help. And they have a child as well.
Anna and Zelda have become friends, very close friends. Anna is Zelda’s only real ally. She not only helps with the medical issues, she is a close confidant as well. Anna knows what goes on behind the closed doors of the Fitzgerald home. And it’s usually quite a harsh environment.
Of course, this is a novel but, I totally got the feeling that Anna had really been Zelda’s nurse. This is great writing. And Anna has had no easy life. She lost her husband and her child years ago. So her own story is intriguing on its own.
You have to wonder which Fitzgerald was more flawed. We now know that Zelda truly suffered from disease. And Scott suffered from alcoholism. But the two seemed to feed from each other. While reading about how Scott often used Zelda’s material for his own gain, I was utterly infuriated. Scott’s alcoholism ended up being his downfall. Alcohol tortures souls; the souls of the victim, and the souls of the family and loved ones. It’s a vicious disease that is slow but all-encompassing. We have dealt with it my family, and I know many families that have suffered from it as well.
Robuck’s first book, HEMINGWAY’S GIRL, has been a real winner. Now, with CALL ME ZELDA, I think we can honestly say that Erika Robuck is one of the best new writers around! I can’t wait to read her next novel. She’s working on it!
Thanks, Erika, for the galley. It’s beautiful!