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Villa America: A Novel Audiobook, by Liza Klaussmann Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Liza Klaussmann Narrator: Jennifer Woodward Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2015 ISBN: 9781611130584
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A dazzling novel set in the French Riviera based on the real-life inspirations for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night.

When Sara Wiborg and Gerald Murphy met and married, they set forth to create a beautiful world together-one that they couldn’t find within the confines of society life in New York City. They packed up their children and moved to the South of France, where they immediately fell in with a group of expats, including Hemingway, Picasso, and Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald.

On the coast of Antibes they built Villa America, a fragrant paradise where they invented summer on the Riviera for a group of bohemian artists and writers who became deeply entwined in each other’s affairs. There, in their oasis by the sea, the Murphys regaled their guests and their children with flamboyant beach parties, fiery debates over the newest ideas, and dinners beneath the stars.

It was, for a while, a charmed life, but these were people who kept secrets, and who beneath the sparkling veneer were heartbreakingly human. When a tragic accident brings Owen, a young American aviator who fought in the Great War, to the south of France, he finds himself drawn into this flamboyant circle, and the Murphys find their world irrevocably, unexpectedly transformed.

A handsome, private man, Owen intrigues and unsettles the Murphys, testing the strength of their union and encouraging a hidden side of Gerald to emerge. Suddenly a life in which everything has been considered and exquisitely planned becomes volatile, its safeties breached, the stakes incalculably high. Nothing will remain as it once was.

Liza Klaussman expertly evokes the 1920s cultural scene of the so-called “Lost Generation.” Ravishing and affecting, and written with infinite tenderness, Villa America is at once the poignant story of a marriage and of a golden age that could not last.

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Quotes & Awards

  • 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, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Intriguing and tender to the bone.”


  • “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. [Grade:] ‘A’.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Tense, seductive fiction…Impressively done.”

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “Real-life figures of the jazz age throw parties on the French Riviera in this exhilarating blend of fact and fiction.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “Klaussmann’s prose, like her main characters, sparkles with exuberance.”

    Historical Novel Society

  • “Psychologically lush and gorgeously descriptive…An enrapturing historical novel about a loving marriage complicated by suppressed desire in a time of now-legendary creative ferment.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Klaussmann makes good use of several fine biographies of the Murphys to capture the magic of a privileged, bohemian existence…Beautifully written and surprisingly fresh given the well-worn subject matter.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Narrator Jennifer Woodward presents this fictional version of the Murphys with all their magic intact…Woodward’s genteel tones and girlish delight make the family’s bohemian existence and hedonism both carefree and urgently serious. Woodward’s performance highlights the Murphys’ marriage, which was fraught with Jazz Age intensity and the sense of ennui that permeated the Lost Generation.”


  • “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.”

    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.”

    Priya Parmar, author of Vanessa and Her Sister

  • “The house that inspired the film Tender is the Night is the setting for Klaussmann’s fictionalized biography of Gerald and Sara Murphy…Like many novelists, Klaussmann takes license with her characters, building lives and motivations, history overlooked. Now, readers are presented with a more human and satisfying story, one filled with imagination, redemption, tragedy, and hope.”

    RT Book Reviews (4½ stars)

  • A People Pick of the Week

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About the Author

Liza Klaussmann worked as a journalist for the New York Times for over a decade. She received a BA in creative writing from Barnard College, where she was awarded the Howard M. Teichman Prize for Prose. She lived in Paris for ten years and recently completed with distinction an MA in creative writing at Royal Holloway, in London, where she lives. She is the great-great-great granddaughter of Herman Melville.

About the Narrator

Jennifer Woodward is an actress and narrator of audiobooks. She is known for her performance in several high-profile video games and for her part in the narration of Mr. Bones by Paul Theroux.