Thursday, February 28, 2013

Guest Review: The Paris Wife (Paula McClain)

A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wifecaptures 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 becomeThe 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’ve 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.
Hardcover, 314 pages
Published February 22nd 2011 by Ballantine Books
Copy Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

I have always been interested in the 1920's. I was so excited to learn about The Paris Wife! In high school I did a huge research project on Scott Fitzgerald and I loved that he and Zelda were characters in this novel! If we think society is bad today and that marriage vows are taken for granted then we missed the madness in the 1920's!

 These characters knew how to drink! There were also other scandals with drugs, affairs and suicide. All the makings of a good book or movie! 

 The Paris Wife begins in the states where Hemingway and Hadley first meet. Hadley is a few years older than Hemingway and they have both been through tough childhoods. They are instantly attracted to each other. Hadley returns back to St. Louis where she lives with her sister and Hemingway begins to write her letters. Their relationship builds has they write very often to each other and finally Hadley agrees to go back to Chicago for a visit. Hemingway tells Hadley of his big ideas and that he thinks they should get married and move to Paris! They have a small wedding and leave for Paris as soon as they can afford to travel! They meet several people in Paris and make some great friends. They begin to lead the rich life has Hemingway and a few of his friend get the publishing breaks they have been waiting for. Hadley finds herself pregnant and Hemingway is not very excited to begin with but he comes around. They have a beautiful baby boy and everything is going great for them until a new lady comes into their life. Pauline starts out as just a friend of both Hadley and Hem but eventually Pauline and Hem have an affair. It was hard for me to read about the affair and how Hadley just played along for a while. 

 It made me really angry with Hadley! In the end Hemingway and Hadley divorce and Hem marries Pauline. Hadley meets another man and marries as well. Things work out wonderfully for Hadley and not so great for Hemingway.

 I enjoyed this book! I love to read about history even though this book was fiction there were still several things that were true in the novel! 

 It is fun to think about how life was in the 1920's! I appreciate the research the author did and the information she gave the reader. I give this book 3-1/2 stars.

Paula McLain has published two collections of poetry, “Less of Her” and “Stumble, Gorgeous,” both from New Issues Poetry Press, and a memoir entitled “Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses” (Little, Brown, 2003). “A Ticket to Ride,” is her debut novel from Ecco/HarperCollins. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan in 1996, and has since been a writer-in-residence at Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, and The Ucross Foundation Residency Program, and received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council. Individual poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals, including the Gettysburg Review, Antioch Review, and The New York Times Sunday Magazine. As well as teaching part-time at John Carroll University, she is a core faculty member in the low-residency MFA Program in Poetry at New England College.

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