Month: June 2016

Review: Call Me Zelda

Available now: Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck

15810873****3/5 stars- liked it

The author of The House of Hawthorne and Hemingway’s Girl tackles Zelda Fitzgerald.

Recommended readers:

  • For book clubs
  • For Hemingway/Fitzgerald Jazz age buffs
  • For fans historical fiction featuring real people

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3/5 characters
  • 3/5 plot
  • 3/5 overall


Call me Zelda enters around Zelda Fitzgerald’s struggle with mental illness and with her famous husband, fictionalizing a psychiatric nurse’s presence in their lives and in the writing of Zelda’s own novel, Save me the Waltz.  We see the famously tragic Zelda through the narrator Anna’s eyes, as she finds herself drawn to the troubled woman and into the very troubled marriage of the Fitzgeralds, while navigating her own tragic past.  Another engaging, fictionalized portrayal of famous writers from Ericka Roebuck, though in the end I much preferred the feel of  Hemingway’s Girl.

Call Me Zelda is available on Amazon

Available June 21st: Anne Tyler’s Vinegar Girl

Available June 21st: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

****3.5/5 stars-really liked it

Anne Tyler takes on The Taming of the Shrew.

Recommended readers:27070127

  • If you’re a fan of comedy,
  • Shakespeare,
  • and contemporary takes on classic stories, this one is for you.
  • Here’s my Rankings:
  • 3.5/5 characters
  • 3.5/5 plot
  • 3.5/5 overall


In the very popular vein of revisiting the classics with a modern twist, Hogarth Press’ Shakespeare series has so far taken on The Merchant of Venice and  The Winter’s Tale with more to come, including Margaret Atwood’s retelling of the The Tempest. In Vinegar Girl, Anne Tyler’s revision of The Taming of the Shrew, Kate Battista is primary school aide stuck ordering the life of her scientist father, her flighty sister, and a whole host of toddlers, until her father’s lab assistant needs help to stay in the country.  The modern version of an arranged marriage! A brief and fun charmer, though maybe a bit of a random start in Anne Tyler.

Available on June 21st: Vinegar Girl

Available Now: The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom

Available now:  The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom

***3/5 stars- liked it25982686

Forbidden love and family ties collide among an Italian family in World War II London.

Recommended readers:

  • If you’re a fan of World War II romantic fiction,
  • and if you’re interested in the Italian perspective outside of Italy, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3/5 characters
  • 3/5 plot
  • 3/5 overall


For a short novel, the Girl from the Paradise Ballroom is populated with a host of interesting characters, and is as much about the Italian family of the man she meets as the “girl” herself. Olivia is a down-on-her-luck dance hostess; Antonio is a singer with a sprawling Italian family and all that comes with, but the title is a bit misleading in that they are not really the central characters of the book.  The real protagonist here is Filomena, Antonio’s sister, who ties the whole thing together and navigates the war’s perils and her family’s disagreements over Mussolini in her own way.  A swift and enjoyable read!

The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom is available now


Get beyond the Great Gatsby: The Diamond as Big as The Ritz

51uA5UkfUvL._SX338_BO1,204,203,200_F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Diamond as Big as the Ritz

**** 4/5 stars- loved it

A young prep schooler is invited out West by a classmate, to a house of unparalleled riches where all is not as it seems.

Recommended readers:

  • Fitzgerald Fans
  • anyone who wants a quick read in the Classics

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 4/5 for plot
  • 4/5 overall


I flatter myself that I know a bit more than the average bear about Fitz, his complicated wife, and their complicated relationship with Hemingway, but what the… what? I didn’t even know this existed. A kid from the South heads West to visit a classmates’ over-the-top home, where the riches approach science fiction. But all is not as it seems in the idyllic world, as old Fitzgerald apparently had himself a tiny little penchant for horror in there with his obsession with money. A quick read, and a great way to spend an incredulous afternoon.   Part  fantasy, part allegory, and part horror (Why hasn’t this been made into a horror film??) I’m pretty sure I missed a bit of the pretty Fitzgerald writing just trying to wrap my head around what I was reading at all. What a kick!  In short: Great Gatsby nothin’. Have yourself a Diamond as Big as The Ritz party. And invite me.

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