I am participating in the PBFingers February Book Club where we read The Paris Wife.
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.
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 haven’t read this book yet and plan to, you may want to stop here**
1) Was it a good book? I really enjoyed this book. Reading it made me dig into lots of research on Ernest Hemingway. I have never read anything by him and really knew nothing about him. While reading I did remember that he had a house in Key West.
2) Would you recommend it? Definitely. I love historical fiction but some people do not so I would warn them about that.
3) What did you like about it? Many things. Like I said earlier, I really enjoy historical fiction. I loved how (F.) Scott Fitzgerald was in it. I loved the nicknames that Hadley and Ernest had for each other. I also really liked that the author included where Hadley and Ernest ended up in the future. I feel like so many authors would have just ended it after their divorce but I was happy to read about what came of them in the years after their marriage ended (especially Hadley).
4) What did you dislike about it? Ernest. They way he treated Hadley at many times was just horrible. After he became famous I found him to be incredibly selfish. While Hadley was trying to make their marriage work when Pauline was in the picture I many times found my mouth dropping while reading. I just couldn’t believe what Ernest and Pauline were doing to Hadley!
While digging around online I saw a very interesting thought. One biographer said that after Ernest’s heartbreak from his first love, Agnes, he made a pattern of abandoning his wives before they could abandon him. Helps to shed some light onto how he could end his marriage with Hadley.
Have you see the movie Midnight in Paris? It ties into the 1920’s time period in Paris. Ernest even makes an appearance. When I rented this movie I had no idea that it was going to be similar to the book I was reading. I was pleasantly surprised!
One of the most heart wrenching scenes in the book is when Hadley’s loses the briefcase with all of Ernest’s writing. While reading this part I completely felt for her. I can’t even imagine losing something like that. Actually at the time I was reading this I couldn’t locate a very nice David Yurman necklace my mom had gotten for my for my birthday last year. Obviously this wasn’t on the same magnitude as the briefcase, but I still had that horrible feeling in my stomach! Most people will say that after Hadley lost the briefcase their marriage was never the same and Ernest had issues trusting people from that point forward.
I give this book 4.5 out 5 stars.
Do you enjoy historical fiction? Do you have a favorite Ernest Hemingway book?