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A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley Chicago,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 become The 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 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 poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley This one just wasn t really my cup of tea The beginning was alright, but after Hadley and Ernest get married I lost interest I really had an issue with Hadley s character and I wasn t sympathetic towards her at all She was such a whiny pushover Now that I think about it I don t know if she was just a product of the times old fashioned and hell bent on staying married even though your husband is a complete prick or just really that pathetic Ernest was sort of a self absorbed, vain, asshole This one just wasn t really my cup of tea The beginning was alright, but after Hadley and Ernest get married I lost interest I really had an issue with Hadley s character and I wasn t sympathetic towards her at all She was such a whiny pushover Now that I think about it I don t know if she was just a product of the times old fashioned and hell bent on staying married even though your husband is a complete prick or just really that pathetic Ernest was sort of a self absorbed, vain, asshole who was a terrible husband too, so I didn t get a warm fuzzy feeling about either of the protagonists for that matter I kept waiting for Hadley to find her voice and start sticking up for herself or at least loose her temper and yell Particularly when she finds out her best friend is sleeping with her husband and this so called friend acts as if nothing is wrong I knew that Hadley and Ernest eventually get a divorce and of his suicide so the ending was of no shock to me Certainly not a very happy ending I don t think you have to be a Hemingway fan to read this one, however I do feel I would have gottenfrom the story had I read The Sun Also Rises mentioned several times in the book or A Moveable Feast supposedly roughly based on Hemingway s first marriage All in all I felt as though The Paris Wife was a boring but very well written novel Several lessons to be learned from Ernest Hemingway s first wife on how he got his second one 1 If you can t be sweet and submissive at least be lively and rich.2 If you still have post pregnancy weight from a baby your husband didn t really want and have to stay in to look after it, then don t let the lively and rich and better dressed woman come on holiday with you Regularly.3 If you wake up to find that you and your husband have been joined by a naked female on his side of the bed wha Several lessons to be learned from Ernest Hemingway s first wife on how he got his second one 1 If you can t be sweet and submissive at least be lively and rich.2 If you still have post pregnancy weight from a baby your husband didn t really want and have to stay in to look after it, then don t let the lively and rich and better dressed woman come on holiday with you Regularly.3 If you wake up to find that you and your husband have been joined by a naked female on his side of the bed what are you waiting for You should be gone before they wake up.Stupid woman.If you are the woman who hopes to be the second wife and you did a lot of shit trying to get your man away from his wife, realise that there are a lot of women out there at least as rich, lively and worshipping as you, and what sthey have as you had the advantage of novelty But she didn t.Stupid woman.He went through twowives after that and then shot himself I knew Margaux Hemingway, one of his grand daughters, and she used to talk of shooting herself Said that suicide ran in her family But she didn t She took an overdose.St The Paris Wife made me remember why I love historical fiction so much McLain not only captures the atmosphere, but she does it with striking prose I was not surprised to learn she d published a book of poetry prior to this I just finished this book and I m a little overwhelmed by it, but I ll do my best to form coherent thoughts First of all, I cannot stress enough what an amazing job the author did of capturing the atmosphere of post war Paris Not that I was there to experience it, but aft The Paris Wife made me remember why I love historical fiction so much McLain not only captures the atmosphere, but she does it with striking prose I was not surprised to learn she d published a book of poetry prior to this I just finished this book and I m a little overwhelmed by it, but I ll do my best to form coherent thoughts First of all, I cannot stress enough what an amazing job the author did of capturing the atmosphere of post war Paris Not that I was there to experience it, but after reading this book, I feel like I was Like I walked the streets, participated in the extravagance, the decadence, the debauchery, the fashions and fads of the time, the whiskey and wine, the cigarettes and smoke, the poverty and claustrophobia The atmosphere of the book itself is enough to make me love it And the fact that it s about a writer only made me adore itIt made me want to be there, to throw myself into their world, to smoke and drink and ski and go fishing and fall in love and write a novel The only thing it did not make me want to do was go to a bullfight, but that s only because I did not enjoy that experience myself If I d never been to one, I certainly would want to after reading McLain s novel.Aside from the atmosphere, McLain also captures the personalities of her characters so well I felt like I was Hadley while I read it Her parts were so alive, so aching and beautiful Hemingway s few sections were also wonderful, confused and tortured and with a quite distinct voice from his wife s Even though I knew what was coming, I still held on with Hadley and ached for her, cried for her a few times, loved with her Because who hasn t loved that man who is so wrong for you, but so swooningly right There were a few parts where it went so far I just cringed, too horrified to look but unable to stop view spoiler Like the part where the other woman gets in bed with them and Hadley just lies there while her husband makes love to his mistress hide spoiler Also, the part where Hadley loses Ernest s manuscripts Being a writer myself, it just knocked the breath out of me That must be every writer s worst nightmare I was literally gasping to breathe at how terrible it would be, and McLain does a wonderful job showing that, even through the eyes of the wife instead of the writer himself Hemingway is captured well, too I understood his artist mentality very well McLain takes an age old story the struggling artist, a nobody, falls in love with another nobody, they get married, she stays in love while he gets famous and becomes somebody, and suddenly, his nobody wife isn t enough for him and makes it stand out in all its tragedy and romance This isn t a romance novel, but possibly the most romantic book I ve ever read not only in Hadley and Ernest s love, but in Paris, and the sweeping scope of the novel, the lavishness, the beauty of language and description and location, of each event, each chapter of their love affair Even their demise is poignant and heartbreaking and messy, but rings with absolute truth.In the epilogue, when it goes into the history of Ernest s family, I got a bit of a shock Of course I knew of Hemingway s death, but I didn t know about the rest of his family It was so morbid, and tragic, and sad I m glad that Hadley lived a long and full life, despite the wild years of drinking and smoking and cavorting around Paris with her artist husband And glad to learn that she went on to happiness, even if she couldn t help Ernest Like so many tragic figures, you find that the ones who need help are the ones who refuse it the most vehemently Warning This novel does paint Hemingway in averysympathetic light, despite his flaws and shortcomings.Recommended for anyone who s ever been in love, been betrayed, or been to Paris I ve never been a fan of fictionalized works of authors lives, and the fact that The Paris Wife recounts my favourite author s life during the writing of my favourite book of all time, The Sun Also Rises, antagonized the hell out of me It didn t bode well But I promised my sister I d give it a go she wanted me to read it because we d just read A Moveable Feast together, and she sent me the hardcover that she d read for a recent book club I couldn t say no.Then, straight away, Paula McLain p I ve never been a fan of fictionalized works of authors lives, and the fact that The Paris Wife recounts my favourite author s life during the writing of my favourite book of all time, The Sun Also Rises, antagonized the hell out of me It didn t bode well But I promised my sister I d give it a go she wanted me to read it because we d just read A Moveable Feast together, and she sent me the hardcover that she d read for a recent book club I couldn t say no.Then, straight away, Paula McLain pissed me off with some of her early writing in the book They pulled me out of the immersion I prefer to give myself over to when I read I would just start to lose myself in Hadley s Chicago, or Hemingway s Michigan cabin, and she d do something inauthentic to break the spell Things were getting worse.Later on, my own personal feelings, connected to a long dead relationship of my own, a relationship I always thought of in terms of Hadley and Ernest, yanked me out of my immersion not once or twice but many times and I would be forced to take a break and try to immerse myself all over again But I blamed myself and tried not to let my attitude spill onto McLain.Around the same time, some clever moments marrying Papa s fictional writing with his real world were appearing, which had to be McLain s fault, and I asked myself Why do we even need books like this If a book is just retelling the stories another author already told so well, fictional or autobiographical, surely a fiction that retells these already told tales is superfluous The answer, I must admit, took me by surprise and changed my relationship with The Paris Wife We need books like this because sometimes the finest stories are the ones we already know told from another direction by someone who loves the original stories and people just as much as we do It seems obvious to me now, as I write it, but it wasn t at all obvious to me while I was reading.It is beautiful the way McLain loves her subjects She is fair to them all She understands them in her own way, a way new and compelling to me, and she overcame all my prejudices, eventually suspending me in my immersion despite herself and her source material and me I wanted to hate this book I set out to destroy it and tear it apart I wanted to come on here and thrash it and Paula McLain But I can t I think this book is something special And it will take its place on the right hand side of my Hemingway shelf, just this side of the biographies, and the Michael Palin Hemingway books McLain s earned it.Always read with a mind willing to open itself even when you find it difficult to open your mind from the start You never know what joys you ll find