Because it’s not always easy to know how to live.

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.

I just recently finished this exciting new novel by Paula McLain, and even though I checked it out from the library, I will be buying this book, simply because this is one of my new top ten favorite novels of all time.  (Thanks, Dan, for the recommendation.)

It’s poignant.

It’s lovely.

It’s heart-warming.

It’s heart-breaking.

It’s a glimpse into the often chaotic mind of a classic American writer.

It makes you want to read The Sun Also Rises again. And again.

From the start of the novel, I identified with Hadley, Ernest Hemingway’s first wife.

But by the end of the novel, I kind of identified with Hemingway as well.

Or perhaps I simply felt sorry for him.

As a writer, I’ve had my own struggles with depression and alcoholism, and even thoughts of suicide.

Written from the perspective of Hadley, it paints a portrait of a man, a child, a lost soul, wandering through the darkness of the world, looking for light, inspiration, and acceptance.

The language is gorgeous. The POV changes between Hadley and Ernest. It makes you want to spend all day in a cafe, drinking coffee, and reading.

This book is a definite MUST READ for the Summer!

PAULA MCLAIN was born in Fresno, CA in 1965. After being abandoned by both parents, she and her two sisters became wards of the California Court

System, moving in and out of foster homes for the next 14 years. Eventually, she discovered she could — and wanted to — write. She received her MFA

in poetry from the University of Michigan in 1996, and since then has been a resident at Yaddo and the recipient of fellowships from the National

Endowment for the Arts. She is the author of two collections of poetry, a much-praised memoir called Like Family (Little Brown, 2003), and one

previous and well-received novel, A Ticket to Ride. Paula McLain lives in Cleveland, OH with her family.

You can find Paula McLain on Goodreads.com.

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1 Comment

Filed under Book review

One response to “Because it’s not always easy to know how to live.

  1. Another great review. Well done!

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