History may remember F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald as being glamorous, the life of the party, and living globe trotting lives full of fun and decadence. There was a darker side to their lives though. A darker side that featured a woman battling severe mental problems and a man that was the cause of the problems helpless in dealing with his beloved wife. Enter a kind nurse with her own tragedy ready to help out the tragic couple. What develops is a lifetime bond between the sassy famous flapper and the nurse battling through her pain to help her. “Call Me Zelda” by Erika Robuck is a novel about the darker side of the marriage between F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and the powerful friendship between two very different, but bonded females.
“Call Me Zelda” is seen through the eyes of the fictional Anna Howard, a nurse assigned to Zelda Fitzgerald when she is placed in a Baltimore psychiatric hospital. Anna and Zelda bond immediately and Anna helps Zelda deal with her problems. Eventually Anna becomes a private nurse to the very ill Zelda and becomes caught in the middle of the famous author and his wife. While Anna deals with Scott’s alcoholism and verbal abuse of Zelda and Zelda’s changing moods and paranoia, Anna finds herself way too involved in their lives. Anna battles through her own pain, the loss of a husband and child, and begins to help Zelda heal and also begin to build a new life for herself. This novel is a look at the darker times for the famous author and his wife and the woman that was there for them despite her own pain.
There have been some recent novels on Zelda Fitzgerald, but those novels have portrayed her wild and zany times during the height of the Jazz Age and the height of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s popularity. Roebuck’s novel is a darker and sadder look at Zelda and the pain she went through after the craziness of the Jazz Age. It is a look at the complex and fascinating marriage of Scott and Zelda. Readers will find themselves understanding the love between Scott and Zelda, but also repulsed at their treatment towards one another. It is an intimate look at the Fitzgerald marriage that will make you feel as if you are with them during those darker days.
The creation of the fictional character Anna is also brilliant. Anna is a nurse and friend to Zelda and either an ally or at odds with Scott, but she’s also more than that. Anna has her own story in the novel. She has a family, heartbreak, loss, and new beginnings. Anna isn’t a supporting character to Zelda or Scott, she is just as well-developed, complex, and interesting.
Robuck is such an amazing and strong writer. She brings real life and fictional characters to life and describes settings and details so beautifully. She crafts a wonderful story and makes readers feel the ups and downs of life alongside Zelda, Scott, and Anna.
This is going to be one of the best historical fiction novels of 2013. It is one of the most unique, well-written, and interesting novels of the year. The story of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald has never been more compelling and tragic.
To purchase: http://amzn.to/1AwvEo0
For more information on Erika Robuck: http://www.erikarobuck.com/