Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain

My oversized holiday led me away from reading, but I managed to sneak in this one extraordinary work of historical fiction:  a bittersweet love story about the first wife of Ernest Hemingway, Hadley Richardson. Paula Mclain has envisioned Ernest and Hadley's early years together before he was so well known and famous. She used the many biographies of Ernest, historical accounts of Paris in the 20's, and letters between Hadley and Ernest as source material. She presents an accurate depiction of their lives in Paris during the twenties when all the important writers and artists of the time were hanging out at Salons and bookstores.

Hadley is probably the most famous unknown wife in history, and this story of hers was a compelling and important one to tell. Now, I am going to have to go back and pick up some of the Hemingway that I dismissed as a young reader, especially A Moveable Feast which was Hemingway's novel about his time in Paris with Hadley.

The ending and epilogue rates at least two hankies.  Mclain makes the reader understand their early love, and subsequent pain at the end of their lives together.  What times they were...

1 comment:

Steph said...

I agree - I thought this was a great read!