When their story began, World War I was raging, and Zelda Sayre was the reigning belle of Montgomery, Ala. Lovely and spirited, she had her choice of Southern men. But at 17, her glance lit fatefully on F. Scott Fitzgerald, a debonair Princeton dropout and aspiring novelist whose military service had landed him near Montgomery.
The war ended before Fitzgerald could fight, but, at 23, he published his first novel, “This Side of Paradise,” and persuaded Zelda to marry him. The book was a huge success, the marriage rather less so. The couple’s alternately buoyant and destructive romance would help define the Jazz Age, shape his literary output, and set the course of their lives.