Friday, August 1, 2014

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

This is the story of Hadley Richardson, the first wife, The Paris Wife, of Ernest Hemingway.  Hoping to find adventure and inspiration, the young newlyweds set out for Paris.  Hemingway is there to write.  Hadley is there to love and support him. I found Hemingway's daily writing regimen fascinating.  His relationships with mentor's Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott Fitzgerald were quite intriguing.

Paris in the 1920's was truly a unique time for writers and artists.  But it wasn't an easy time for Hadley and she struggled to find her purpose beyond supporting Ernest. She seemed stronger to me as they traveled  through Europe, especially during their time in Spain where they experienced the running of the bulls and bullfighting.

Unfortunately their relationship begins to unravel.  The heartbreak,  humiliation, disappointment,  and betrayal left me unnerved.  In the end, thankfully, there is peace for both Hadley and the reader from an unexpected phone call.  And I cried.

As I read The Paris Wife I couldn't help but think of Anne Morrow Lindbergh and how similar their situations were.  And I'm glad to know both their stories.  I'm also very interested to read A Moveable Feast, Hemingway's memoir of his time in Paris with Hadley as well as The Sun Also Rises, which he wrote while they were married.

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