Book Review: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

14 Dec

The Paris WifeMy Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

This book is about the life of Hadley Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway’s first wife.  If you know anything about Ernest Hemingway, you know that he was a famously troubled and eccentric writer in the 1920s.  So it’s obvious that his wife would have a great story to tell.   

But relationships are always more complex from the inside looking out.  Hadley had good breeding and education with lots of promise.  On one hand it was hard to believe that she ended up so in love and willing to bend to the wills of Ernest’s craziness.  But at the same time, knowing the mutual love and respect they had for each other and the happy times they shared, it becomes believable that she would try to hold on to their marriage and endure his ‘dark’ periods.

I thought Hadley’s character would annoy me, since I was banking on her being a helpless coward who didn’t have the strength or confidence to get herself out of a destructive relationship.  But she was much stronger in many ways and their relationship was so more complicated than one would ever know from the outside looking in.  I thought this was one of the most believable relationships I’ve ever read about.  Kudos to the author on that.  Add in the era (1920s) and the locale (Paris) and it makes for a very cozy and thoughtful read.

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