The Paris Wife

I have to admit, I’m pretty behind on blogging… between the trip to San Francisco and just general life busyness, I have about a dozen drafted blog posts just waiting to be finished and published. Woops.

The Paris Wife

The Paris Wife

I read The Paris Wife a couple of months ago and overall, I really enjoyed it (although at this point I can’t remember all of the details…it’s been too long!). Looking at the different books I’ve read this summer, this one was one of my favorites and a great reminder why I enjoy historical fiction so much and how they weave between actual historical events and character development.

The Paris Wife is the story of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife Hadley Richardson. One thing I really appreciated about this book was how easy it was to see that the author Paula McLain did her research on the Hemingways. I loved how detailed their stories were and how easy it was to see everything from Hadley’s point of view. After meeting each other in the U.S., Ernest and Hadley soon got married and moved to Paris where they experienced all the city had to offer in the roaring ’20s. As a 20-year old beginning writer, Ernest is dramatic, passionate, and fairly needy while 28-year old Hadley is the stable rock and supporter he needs to help start his career.

The book’s title sums up Hadley perfectly as she was Ernest’s “Paris Wife”; she was his first of four wives and they spent most of their marriage within Paris. It was at times sad and also frustrating to read their story and see how the marriage slowly came to an end. I found myself at times thinking to myself “Hadley, you’re crazy for putting up with this” or “Ernest, you’ve got to be kidding me.” And yet I couldn’t put the book down and managed to feel a sense of peace at the end of it, which isn’t an easy feat given the end of their relationship.

If you’re looking for a quick, engaging read and also like historical fiction, I would definitely recommend The Paris Wife.

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