Welcome to my stop on the Another Side of Paradise blog tour sponsored by Suzy Approved Book Tours! Thank you to Suzy for the invitation!
About the Book:
In 1937 Hollywood, gossip columnist Sheilah Graham’s star is on the rise, while literary wonder boy F. Scott Fitzgerald’s career is slowly drowning in booze. But the once-famous author, desperate to make money penning scripts for the silver screen, is charismatic enough to attract the gorgeous Miss Graham, a woman who exposes the secrets of others while carefully guarding her own. Like Fitzgerald’s hero Jay Gatsby, Graham has meticulously constructed a life far removed from the poverty of her childhood in London’s slums. And like Gatsby, the onetime guttersnipe learned early how to use her charms to become a hardworking success; she is feted and feared by both the movie studios and their luminaries.
A notorious drunk famously married to the doomed Zelda, Fitzgerald fell hard for his “Shielah” (he never learned to spell her name), a shrewd yet softhearted woman—both a fool for love and nobody’s fool—who would stay with him and help revive his career until his tragic death three years later. Working from Sheilah’s memoirs, interviews, and letters, Sally Koslow revisits their scandalous love affair and Graham’s dramatic transformation in London, bringing Graham and Fitzgerald gloriously to life with the color, glitter, magic, and passion of 1930s Hollywood.
When I was a child on a trip to the mountains of North Carolina, I remember being told that Zelda Fitzgerald was admitted to a sanitorium in the area, and there was some other mystery that surrounded her and her time there; and for whatever reason, because of that early experience, I have been interested in Zelda ever since. She is pretty darn intriguing after all.
In my 11th grade English class, taught by someone who ardently admired Fitzgerald, I read The Great Gatsby for the first time, and I was as enthralled as most everyone else with that novel, and still I thought of Zelda.
Another Side of Paradise is not Zelda’s story, however. It is Sheilah Graham’s story. Sheilah is the mistress of Fitzgerald while Zelda is institutionalized in Asheville, North Carolina.
Graham is born to Jewish Ukrainian parents. Her father dies when she’s an infant, and her mother is forced to give Sheilah to an orphanage. By the time Fitzgerald meets her, Graham could not be further removed from her challenging early life.
Sheilah enters Fitzgerald’s world when he is floundering work-wise and drinking more than ever. She inspires him to some success, as his muse, and the book covers their three years together.
Sally Koslow meticulously researched Sheilah Graham’s life. She brings the life and times of these high profile “characters” to life with all the glitz, glamour, and unfortunately for Fitzgerald, drinking one would expect of the time.
The story is smoothly written and completely absorbing. I thought Graham’s perspective was interesting, and I found her formidable in order to go head-to-head with Fitzgerald and work to get his life back on track in the short time she spent with him.
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
About the Author:
In ANOTHER SIDE OF PARADISE (Harper), Sally Koslow brings to life the tender, torrid tale of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Hollywood love affair with the Gatsby-esque Sheilah Graham, a gossip columnist and remarkable self-invention. After four books rooted in the present—including the international bestseller, THE LATE, LAMENTED MOLLY ARX and her debut, LITTLE PINK SLIPS, an insider’s view of the magazine industry (which she knows only too well, as the long-time editor of McCall’s Magazine)—this is Sally’s first historical novel. Her books have been translated into 14 languages and featured by Target. She lives in Manhattan but was born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota.
Have you read Another Side of Paradise, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR