The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

“I’m always on your side,” I said, and wondered if I was the only one who felt the complicated truth of that hovering over us in the dark room. (p. 244)

The Paris Wife tells of the beginning of Ernest Hemingway’s career through the eyes of his first wife, Hadley Richardson.  Shortly after marrying, the pair move to Paris and take up with “the Lost Generation”, a group of expatriate literary heavy-hitters, including Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein and Scott Fitzgerald, to name a few.  Hadley and Ernest were madly in love and Hadley relished her role as supporting wife, despite the “freethinking, free-living lovers willing to bend every convention to find something right or risky or liberating enough” (p. 282) that surrounded them.  But as the years go by, Ernest’s ego and neediness begin to outgrow Hadley and her love alone is no longer enough.  With vivid descriptions of 1920s Europe, McLain reveals a poignant story of love and betrayal and provides insight into one of the greatest writers in American history.  I couldn’t put it down.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Adult fiction | 336 pages | February 2011 | Ballantine Books | 0345521307 | Library copy
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Filed under Adult Literature, Book Reviews

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