Review: The Paris Wife

Why I picked it: I had come close to reading this book several times so when a good friend told me it was a must read, I knew I had to read it.

Synopsis: 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, 1920: 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.

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 more 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.

Type: Historical Fiction
Quick Take: This is a heartbreaking portrayal of love and loyalty.  As I listened to this book I kept thinking about how sad Hadley must have been.  I didn't get the sense that life was joyful for them.  Hemingway was often depressed. That said, I did feel the love she had for him.  It was only at the end of listening to this book that I had compassion for their marriage. 

I loved all the references of Paris, prohibition, life in the 20's, and learning more about a circle of authors. 

I had forgotten that Hemingway's family is filled with depression and suicide.  It's tragic.

Shortly after reading this book, a friend and I saw the new Woody Allen movie (Midnight's in Paris).  It was so much fun to recognize authors, wive's, etc in the movie.  A fun complement to the book.

Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Library (audio)