The Paris Wife: A Novel (Paperback)
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March 2011 Indie Next List
“This beautifully written story captures that electric time, the 1920's in that electric city, Paris, through the eyes of Hadley Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway's first wife. While Hadley reveals the strengths and, ultimately the weaknesses in her complex and fascinating marriage, readers are treated to a novel rich in detail and riddled with real-life characters who fascinate us all.”
— Jeanne Regentin, Between the Covers, Harbor Springs, MI
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A beautiful portrait of being in Paris in the glittering 1920s—as a wife and as one’s own woman.”—Entertainment Weekly
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.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY People • Chicago Tribune • NPR • The Philadelphia Inquirer • Kirkus Reviews • The Toronto Sun • BookPage
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.
Praise for The Paris Wife
“McLain smartly explores Hadley's ambivalence about her role as supportive wife to a budding genius.... Women and book groups are going to eat up this novel.” —USA Today
“Written much in the style of Nancy Horan's Loving Frank ... Paula McLain's fictional account of Hemingway's first marriage beautifully captures the sense of despair and faint hope that pervaded the era and their marriage.” —Associated Press
“Lyrical and exhilarating . . . McLain offers a raw and fresh look at the prolific Hemingway. In this mesmerizing and helluva-good-time novel, McLain inhabits Richardson’s voice and guides us from Chicago—Richardson and Hemingway’s initial stomping ground—to the place where their life together really begins: Paris.” —Elle
About the Author
Paula McLain is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Love and Ruin, Circling the Sun, The Paris Wife, and A Ticket to Ride, the memoir Like Family: Growing Up in Other People’s Houses, and two collections of poetry. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, O: The Oprah Magazine, Town & Country, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere. She lives in Ohio with her family.
“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