The Right Book at the Right Time

The Fairfield Public Library Reader’s Advisor – Recommendations, Reviews and More

The Paris Wife

Posted by Merry Mao on December 22nd, 2010

Title: The Paris Wife

Author: Paula McLain

Publisher: Random House, February 2011

Summary: This is the heartbreaking story of Ernest Hemingway’s doomed marriage to Elizabeth Hadley Richardson, as told from Hadley’s perspective. Though Hadley is apprehensive about marrying the younger Hemingway, she is in love and caught up in the exciting life she is sure she will have with him. Hemingway is still unknown as an author and is struggling to write the great novel that will finally get him recognized. Hadley gives the emotional support that Hemingway needs when facing criticism and rejection. This was “the lost generation” however, and Hemingway’s morals and values left much to be desired. While Hadley was the supportive, loving wife and mother, Hemingway was a cad. Apparently he realized his mistake several years later. In Hemingway’s memoir “A Moveable Feast”, regarding Hadley he wrote “I wished I had died before I loved anyone but her.”

This is a moving, wonderfully written novel that sweeps you up and doesn’t let go until the very end. Though many readers will already know how the story turns out (considering Hadley is the first of Ernest’s four wives), Hadley’s story is one of love and resilience. With so many literary figures thrown in, this story has a perfect balance of history and romance.

Recommended by : Sue B., Circulation Coordinator

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