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Book Review – The Paris Wife

by MumsibleG


I think I might have had The Paris Wife on my Kindle for over an year and never got around to reading it… I don’t know why, I think the title was a little bit of a put off – my mind kept thinking it would be like Aviator’s Wife (which I loved!) and i didn’t want to read one quite so similar just yet – so never quite got to it.

This year though, I started on it.

What I didn’t know until I started to read and saw familiar names is that The Paris Wife is a historical fictional novel (which it has in common with Aviator’s Wife) about Ernest Hemmingway and his first wife Hadely Richardson. I was in awe as I started reading and was kicking myself for not having gotten to it earlier!

I didn’t know until I visited wikipedia is that Ernest Hemmingway had four wives and Hadely the narrator in Paris Wife was his first. The characters mentioned in The Paris Wife are historically accurate and I was thrilled to see F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda making a few apperances in the novel. It was quite insightful to get a glimpse of that era, on how they lived, their values and mindset.

The Paris Wife is a heart wrenching story, narrated by Hadely on Ernest Hemmingway’s life in Europe. It’s beautiful and yet sad. It is a bit monotomous at the beginning, as insightful as it to that period, you wonder where the story is going, at least I did since I didn’t really know about Ernest’s life before reading The Paris Wife. Towards the end though, you really understand about certain relationships and how destructive they can be and appreciate the whole story.

I do recommend it, and I think it’s one of those books that are well worth reading.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain Goodreads Synopsis

A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

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.

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