The Paris Wife

“You are everything good and straight and fine and true—and I see that so clearly now, in the way you’ve carried yourself and listened to your own heart. You’ve changed me more than you know, and will always be a part of everything I am. That’s one thing I’ve learned from this. No one you love is ever truly lost.”

Ah, Paris in the 1920's... The Hemmingways, the Fitzgeralds, the Pounds, Gertrude Stein... In Paula McLain's novel, "The Paris wife", you get to mentally rub shoulders with the crème de la crème of the Lost Generation... It is the story of Hadley Richardson, Ernest Hemingway's first wife. The Paris wife. Hadley is 29 years old when she meets 21 year old Ernest Hemingway in Chicago. They fall in love, get married one year later and move to Paris. During that period, Paris was brimming with life. They meet James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, the Fitzgeralds, Ezra Pound... They also travel a lot: Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Austria... All is full of love and wonder and they are considered to be one of the happiest and "real" couples. After a small period in Toronto, in order to give birth to their son, they come back to Paris so that Ernest can fully commit to his writing.

This time though they meet the Pfeiffer sisters: Pauline and Jinny. Beautiful, very rich, well-educated and utterly fashionable. And... you can guess how the story goes, right? Once Pauline sets her sights on Ernest, she will go to great lengths to destroy his marriage with Hadley. Eventually she does. To tell you the truth, I couldn't believe how Hadley managed to keep her cool and deal gracefully with the situation on her hands. But she really -REALLY- loved him and had faith in their love and marriage... There were quite a few disturbing "incidents" she had to endure before the dissolution of their marriage but as quoted in the book: "Love is love. It makes you do terribly stupid things."
I am usually not a fan of historical fiction but this book is tremendously good! It's as if you're there with them... Living in Paris in the roaring twenties... drinking the night away with some of the most acclaimed writers of the Jazz Age... You feel the love the Hemingways once had and -sadly- feel Hadley's heartbreak... Highly recommended!

Have a lovely day!


admin is Fali’s Senior Editor. Arleen has been writing professionally for over 10 years. From 2005-2015, she covered the advertising and marketing industry for Majalah Dewasa.

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