Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.
Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill prepared for the hard-drinking and fast-living life of Jazz Age Paris, which hardly values traditional notions of family and monogamy. Surrounded by beautiful women and competing egos, Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history, pouring all the richness and intensity of his life with Hadley and their circle of friends into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises. Hadley, meanwhile, strives to hold on to her sense of self as the demands of life with Ernest grow costly and her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Despite their extraordinary bond, they eventually find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for.
A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.
About the Author
Paula McLain received her M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Michigan and has been awarded fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is the author of two collections of poetry; a memoir, Like Family: Growing Up in Other People’s Houses; and a first novel, A Ticket to Ride. She lives in Cleveland with her family.
- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Ballantine Books (February 22, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345521307
- ISBN-13: 978-0345521309
ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT
I was never a fan of Hemingway, but have always intrigued by his larger than life personality. Paula McLain has weaved a wondrous blend of fact and fiction to bring the story behind Hemingway’s first wife and love Elizabeth Hadley Richardson. If you look at pictures of Hadley from her youth, you can see her looks very clearly in her granddaughters, Mariel and Margaux. I imagine she must have been stunning with an amazing personality and sense of humor to capture Hemingway’s heart so thoroughly. McLain’s theorizes these ideas fully in this fictional account of their romance based on letters, written accounts and Hemingway’s story, The Sun Also Rises, based on his own experiences.
This book is for anyone looking to revisit The Cafe Society in Paris during the 1920’s. I got the feeling that while Hadley loved her husband dearly, she didn’t really fit in with Cafe society since the lax morals didn’t suit her upbringing. It is fascinating to read how she dealt with Hemingway’s affairs and the fact that he brought his soon to be mistress, Pauline, into his home life. Hemingway must have been like a rock start in that world. It must have been amazing to live through such a time period.
I am such a huge fan of books like this, that take fact and work out the details so a story can unfold. It reminded me of Loving Frank by Nancy Horan which I adored. It even makes me want to go back and reread Hemingway’s work. Of course, this story couldn’t have been written without the famous characters and it is a fascinating romantic tale. I received this book from the publisher at no expense in exchange for my honest review.
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