The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain
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 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.
If you are an Ernest Hemingway fan like me, I recommend this read. I usually review Young Adult novels, but I thought this one would be a nice change of pace.
A Paris Wife takes place in the early 1900's. The years of the flappers, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Jazz. It starts of with Ernest and Hadley meeting each other for the first time at a gathering. They soon fall in love after sending countless letters to each other. They seem like the most perfect couple and become husband and wife at a young age. Now they are extremely poor as Ernest hasn't developed his career quite yet, and Hadley only has trust fund money coming in once a year.
They decide to move to Paris to further Ernest's career, and move into a dumpy apartment. Besides this everything goes smoothly. They spend what money that can spend on trips taken together. Before you know it Hadley becomes pregnant and Ernest is pissed about it. He swears Hadley did it on purpose and everything goes downhill for their marriage then. However this is when Ernest's career starts to blossom, and he begins meeting all kinds of people including F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby (one of my favorite books) is mentioned and Ernest has no interest in reading it. Hadley and Ernest develop a small tight knit group of friends, whom The Sun Also Rises is based on. After Hadley reads the novel, she realizes she is never mentioned in the book and is hurt by this because all of their friends, even Ernest, are in the book. The names are of course changed. After this Hadley's best friend Pauline Pfeiffer comes clean and lets Hadley know she has been sleeping with Ernest.
I felt extremely bad for Hadley for the entire book. She was absolutely in love with Ernest, but I didn't get a feeling he felt the same way for their marriage. This book taught me a lot about Ernest Hemingway and that he had a horrible view on living. I personally don't think he really ever "lived", and screwed up all of his marriages. BUT I still love The Sun Also Rises.
My rating: 4/5 stars