If two people love each other, there can be no happy end to it.Ernest Hermingway

Love is an emotion…. a powerful emotion that creates in the human mind a longing and psychological dependence on a romantic partner.  And, great loves make great reading.  Here’s a list of Zola’s all-time favorites.  All non-fiction.



Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton lived very public, extravagant lives (Hollywood glitz, glamour and scandal), but Furious Love by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger, provides more to the story of these lustful lovers with an intimate look at the obsessions, conflict, and heartache in their tumultuous private lives and a view of the players and deals involved in the business of movie-making.  When I started reading, I couldn’t put the book down.




I first got interested in the DiMaggio – Monroe love story after reading Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life by Richard Ben Cramer.  It was a ‘true love’ marriage of a sports icon and Hollywood super-star, but not so surprisingly, it was ill-fated. In fact, they were tragically mismatch, and the relationship became volatile and abusive.  Joe and Marilyn:  Legends in Love by C. David Heymann fills in the details.





The 40 year marriage of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt was controversial because it seemed so out of the norm at the time, leading to much speculation about their relationship with one another and others.  It was certainly complicated, and filled with tragedy, turmoil, and betrayal as well as devotion and commitment.  Doris Kearns Goodwin recounts the Roosevelt presidency during the war years (1940-45) through the telling of their intriguing personal story in No Ordinary Time (Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II).




King Henry VIII’s love letters to Anne Boleyn are a fascinating read.  Written in the years 1527-29, Henry professes his love and devotion to Anne beautifully, but the drama is in the knowing that by the year 1536, Henry had found a new mistress and Anne was beheaded.  You can read the letters (including historical notes) online, free → HERE





Much has been written about these scandalous lovers, and it’s never enough.  King Edward VIII’s love affair with the married American, Wallis Simpson, and his subsequent abdication in 1936 changed the course of history.  Start with The Windsor Story by Charles J.V. Murphy/J. Bryan III and Wallis and Edward: Letters (1931- 1937), then move on and find more to the story.  [A couple of these books were first published 25+ years ago, so you might have some luck finding them at your local, public library]



You’ve probably never heard of Sara and Gerald Murphy.  I hadn’t when I picked up Everybody Was So Young (Gerald and Sara Murphy, A Lost Generation Love Story) by Amanda Vaill, but was immediately fascinated with the story of their love and friendships with artists and writers (including Hemingway, Fitzgerald & Picasso) while living in Paris and the French Riviera during the 1920’s.  It seemed the party would never end, but it did, and the Murphy’s were forever changed after enduring the sufferings of great loss and facing financial trouble during the Depression.




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Feature photo is edited image provided by Josh Felise/Unspash CC0

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Posted by Zola Zeester

Zola is a vagabond playmaker, the On2In2™ recreation guru and primary source of inspiration for this article. Currently resides at Zeester Media HQ.

One Comment

  1. After these “Legendary Lovers” book recommendations were posted on FB, a friend recommended two Herman Wouk novels –‘Winds of War’ and ‘Marjorie Morningstar’. Reminded me that I had read another Herman Wouk novel years ago ‘War and Remembrance’ which is the continuing story of the characters in ‘Winds of War’. Both great reads. Also, remembered reading them in reverse order. Not ideal, but interesting to read a book when you know what happens in the end! Recommend you start from the beginning with ‘Winds of War’, and then go on to ‘War and Remembrance’.

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