Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Paris Wife

The Paris WifeThe Paris Wife by Paula McLain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I knew nothing about Ernest Hemingway, other than he was a writer in the early 1900's, before I picked up this book. Which may have been in my favor as I had no idea what was going to happen. The author did a great job with re-creating actual lives and personalities. This was an easy story to fall into and very well written. In some places it was like reading poetry itself. This book satisfied all aspects of an enjoyable read for me, there were great characters, an enjoyable plot, consistent POV, even the story resolution was fantastically done.

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.

Recommended Reading:
State of Wonder by Anne Patchett
Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy
The Three Weissmans of Westport by Cathleen Schine
The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

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