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The Paris Wifeby Paula McLain
Synopses & Reviews
A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures the 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. 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 Fitzgerald.
Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill prepared for the hard-drinking, fast-living, and free-loving life of Jazz Age Paris. As Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history and pours himself into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises, Hadley strives to hold on to her sense of self as her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Eventually they 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 more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER — BEST HISTORICAL FICTION — GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY People • Chicago Tribune • NPR • The Philadelphia Inquirer • Kirkus Reviews • The Toronto Sun • BookPage
“A beautiful portrait of being in Paris in the glittering 1920s — as a wife and as one’s own woman.” Entertainment Weekly
“[Paula] McLain has brought Hadley [Hemingway] to life in a novel that begins in a rush of early love....A moving portrait of a woman slighted by history, a woman whose...story needed to be told.” The Boston Globe
“The Paris Wife creates the kind of out-of-body reading experience that dedicated book lovers yearn for, nearly as good as reading Hemingway for the first time — and it doesn’t get much better than that.” Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Exquisitely evocative....This absorbing, illuminating book gives us an intimate view of a sympathetic and perceptive woman, the striving writer she married, the glittering and wounding Paris circle they were part of....McLain reinvents the story of Hadley and Ernest’s romance with the lucid grace of a practiced poet.” The Seattle Times
“A novel that’s impossible to resist. It’s all here, and it all feels real.” People
An instant national bestseller, this stunningly evocative, beautifully rendered story told in the voice of Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley, has the same power and historical richness that made Loving Frank a bestseller.
No twentieth-century American writer has captured the popular imagination as much as Ernest Hemingway. This novel tells his story from a unique point of view — that of his first wife, Hadley. Through her eyes and voice, we experience Paris of the Lost Generation and meet fascinating characters such as Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and Gerald and Sara Murphy. The city and its inhabitants provide a vivid backdrop to this engrossing and wrenching story of love and betrayal that is made all the more poignant knowing that, in the end, Hemingway would write of his first wife, "I wish I had died before I loved anyone but her."
About the Author
Paula McLain received her M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Michigan and has been awarded fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is the author of two collections of poetry; a memoir, Like Family: Growing Up in Other People’s Houses; and a first novel, A Ticket to Ride. She lives in Cleveland with her family.
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