Review: The Paris Wife – Paula McLain

“I wished I had died before I loved anyone but her”. This is a quote from Ernest  Hemingway describing his feelings towards his first wife, Hadley. It’s also the sentence that inspired Paula McLain to write her first novel, “The Paris Wife“, which I’m now rating as my favorite book so far in 2011.

When I first picked up “The Paris Wife” I was skeptical, mainly because I thought a whole book about Ernest Hemingway was going to be long and tedious, but I was happily mistaken and couldn’t wait to turn the page to find out what was going to happen next in this story of romance and paving the way to fame and recognition.

This story is told in the voice of Hadley Richarson, a woman that was destined to be a spinster or at least that’s what her family thought; however, on a trip to visit a friend, she meets the young and energetic Ernest Hemingway and her world is turned upside down. She is enamoured with Hemingway’s talented writing skills and they begin to fall in love while corresponding through letters back and forth to one another. Surprising her friends and family, Hadley decides she wants to marry the young and impressionable Ernest Hemingway. Paula McLain has a talented voice that makes you feel that the love between the two is honest and true; and according to the quote that inspired the novel, it’s fair to say that they loved one another very much.

After the two vow to be one another’s for eternity, thus begins a whirlwind romance that spans all over the world, from Chicago to Toronto to Paris, the two create a happy life with one another surrounded by good friends and plenty of alcohol. There was an evident stream of alcohol throughout each page in this novel leading the reader to believe that alcoholism was a part of their married life. No matter where the location Hadley “stands by her man” and encourages him to become the writer he wants to be and the writer she knows he can become. In the early days before he became the notable and respected Ernest Hemingway she helps to support him and encourage him, but as soon as fame hits things begin to change.

Paula McLain, a talented new voice, has created a story like no other. It’s got elements of romance, suspense and history. You find yourself forgetting that this is a fictional story created by McLain and probably involves many truthful elements, but it is a story that McLain created using research done on Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Richardson. It’s gripping and a story that I’ve been recommending to everyone, because it’s so well written. I hope that all of you check it out as well!!!


3 thoughts on “Review: The Paris Wife – Paula McLain

  1. Jennifer says:

    This certainly sounds like a book I should pick up. I’m not really all that into Hemingway – haven’t really read much by him in my classes, but he is someone that interests me because everyone talks about his greatness. Plus, I really love the cover of this book. And I love romance and books about writers. What reader/aspiring writer, doesn’t?

  2. Ellen Rhudy says:

    I was surprised by this book too…when I heard about it I was kind of horrified at the thought of someone trying to write a book about such a famous literary figure. But man, was it a lot of fun to read…I finished it in about a day. And your cover IS better than the american version – i’m jealous!

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