The Paris Wife

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Pages: 314     Published: 2011

The book: Hadley Richardson met Ernest Hemingway in Chicago in 1920. A whirlwind romance followed, and despite objections from friends and family, they married then moved to Paris. There they became part of a group of writers and artists – sometimes referred to as the “Lost Generation”- that included Gertrude Stein, Erza Pound, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. This book is a fictionalized account of Hadley and Ernest’s life together.

You might like it because: Hemingway and Richardson had an incredibly passionate relationship, and the story of their lives during their marriage is interesting and interspersed with famous literary and artistic figures. McLain does a marvelous job of bringing these people to life.

What did other people say?
“Fictionalized though it is, The Paris Wife feels like, as Ernest Hemingway himself might say, the real thing.” – The Dallas Morning News

“[Paula] McLain has brought Hadley to life in a novel that begins in a rush of early love…A moving portrait of a woman slighted by history, a woman whose…story needed to be told.” – The Boston Globe

Awards & Recognition:
Named one of the best books of the year by NPR, Chicago Tribune, and People

How quickly will you get into the book? The short, three-page prologue gets you interested, then in the first paragraph of chapter one Hadley and Ernest meet. I was intrigued to know more about them.

You might not like it because: Maybe fictionalized accounts of real people are not your thing.
At times as you read their story, you may wonder why Hadley did not see what type of person Hemingway was and his treatment of her might annoy and frustrate some readers.

What might you read next?
F.Scott Fitzgerald was a friend of the Hemingways and lived in Paris when Ernest and Hadley were there. You could read his book The Great Gatsby, which was published during that time.

Read about the life of another famous wife, Anne Morrow Lindberg in The Aviators Wife by Melanie Benjamin.

Or you could pick up A Moveable Feast – Hemingway’s own account of the Paris years and his relationship with Hadley, which he wrote towards the end of his life when he was married to his fourth wife.

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