50 Book Challenge: #1 The Paris Wife

The Paris Wife


From the book jacket:

In 1920 Chicago, Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness – until she meets the youthful returning war hero Ernest Hemingway, and is captivated by his good looks, intensity, and a passionate desire to write. After a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris. Soon they are the golden couple at the heart of a lively and volatile group of expatriates that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. But hard-drinking, fast-living Jazz Age Paris is at odds with traditional notions of family and monogamy. 

The two move to Toronto to have their son, Bumby, and it is there that Ernest galvanizes his creative ambitions. The Hemingways return to Paris on a wave of optimism, but new challenges begin to chip away at their happiness. As Hadley struggles with jealousy and self-doubt and Ernest wrestles with his writing career, the pair must confront a deception that could prove the undoing of one of the great romances in literary history. 

A heart rendering tale of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant for kowning that at the end of his life, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley. 

Hem & Hadley - Wedding Day

USA Today wrote that the book was powerful and devastating. I finished the book on January 1st, having started it on the train ride back to Toronto from Ottawa. I don’t think I was prepared for how devastating the book would be for me.

I wanted to read the book after reading my friend Catriona’s review. Both her and some other friends have stated they dove into Hemingway after reading the book. I think I need a bit of a break from him.

I find the 1920’s a fascinating era and love reading about the time period. I am definitely a hopeless romantic and reading about the blurred lives of the times and the people that surround Hem and Hadley was difficult for me to put my head around the loose love notions of the time. It also made me really think about how people’s lives reflect who they surround themselves with. Can man really be an island when surround with different values? Notions of monogamy only working if you resist and throw out all temptation and thoughts about how are we all destined to have more than one love in a lifetime are swirling in my head. This book has definitely given me a book hangover and I need to throw myself into some happy, cheerful chick lit next!


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