The Paris Wife

The Paris Wife

A Novel

Book - 2011 | 1st ed.
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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
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 2011.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780345521309
Branch Call Number: Fic
Characteristics: xii, 320 p. ; 25 cm.


From Library Staff

A St. Louis girl, Hadley Richardson meets the charming Ernest Hemingway at a party in Chicago. They fall in love, marry, and move to Paris during the Jazz Age. It's heartbreaskign to watch their love grow and die.

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. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a live... Read More »

The book that cause us to fall in love with all things Paula McLain. This is the story of Ernest Hemingway; his first wife, Hadley; and a missing satchel full of Papa's manuscripts. Like Melanie Benjamin's "The Aviator's Wife," you'll feel like a fly on the wall of their courtship, ma... Read More »

From the critics

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May 15, 2019

Wow-felt like I was right there with the couple wherever their destinations were-and there were many. I really liked & admired Hadley as a person.

Feb 24, 2019

Good if you like historical fiction

Jan 18, 2019

...meh... kinda boring and tedious unless maybe one is a huge Hemingway fan...of his life, that is. I think I dozed off somewhere in Paris in a street cafe...

Jul 16, 2018

Paula McLain does an incredible job bringing to life Paris of the 1920s and the Lost Generation. McLain shines a light into Hadley and Ernest Hemmingway’s unique private world. Their relationship, and life in Paris was filled with famous expats and artists, poverty, loneliness, love, ambition, and adventure. Their loyalty, youth, and naivety are heartbreaking as their simple lives become increasingly complex and tumultuous. Hadley’s love of everything that makes Ernest who he is, is exactly what makes this story so wonderfully tragic. I highly recommend this read, as it is insightful, enriching, and emotional.

Apr 19, 2018

Hadley and Ernest Hemingway come alive in this novel - young and in love and in Paris. Beautifully written this novel captures the times of Paris back then and the main characters' lives in the City of Light. Highly recommend.

Nov 06, 2017

The author’s rich storytelling successfully brings out the emotional complexity of Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage, told from the perspective of his wife, Hadley. She sympathetically and honestly portrays both characters in a way that helps us understand why it was a challenge to have a solid marriage, and paints a vivid picture of those heady, chaotic times in Paris 1920s with F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Alice B.Toklas, Ezra Pound and his harem, and others with similar drunken, rebellious-artist attitudes of the day.

At times I wanted to judge Hadley as a doormat from my 21st century perspective, for her chosen role as supporter of Ernest’s self-absorbed writing career and the denial of her own sense of self (even when *the mistress* entered the scene). But I think the reader needs to see this in the context of their trying-to-be-outrageous circle of friends in 1920s Paris, full of love triangles.

I was reminded how some things don’t change, how many people still keep up appearances pretending how perfectly good life is regardless of life’s messes. McLain uses a very apt metaphor tied in with the bike riding activity of Hadley, Ernest and his lover, Pauline (I’ve condensed it): "Three bicycles stood on their stands. If you looked at them one way they looked very solid, like sculpture with afternoon light glinting off the chrome handlebars. If you looked another way, you could see how thin each kickstand was under the weight of the heavy frame, and how they were poised to fall like dominoes or skeletons of elephants or like love itself."

Mar 15, 2017

It was kind of slow at times. Had to make myself continue reading it at times. But I'm glad I did finish it. I suggest reading it BEFORE A Moveable Feast because the Moveable Feast was easier to understand already knowing the history of the characters. Hemingway must have been quite a guy! Seems that suicide was sort of a trait in that family. Grandaughter Margaux Hemingway for one. I will read several of his other books too. Also, FS Fitz and Tomas Wolfe. the movie GENIUS with Colin Firth and Jude Law. I enjoyed it so much. I recommend it because it really helps you understand all those authors. Jude Law portraying Thomas Wolf working with Colin Firth's Max Perkins (who published Wolf's and other's books) was very very good. Tells you the story of those men and their friendships. It's part of history
learning about those families. I also wanted to say that I'm going to rent the Paris Wife again simply because I want to re read the final letter that Hadley sent to Hem about their divorce. It was so generous and unselfish of her. I have to read it again, it was a beautiiiiful letter the way she worded it. CASmith

Nov 01, 2016

I enjoyed the writing style as well as the in depth look at Paris during this time. However, I did not have a lot of sympathy for the characters and the structure of the book bothered me. I wish there was more to it, more story more depth. But you knew how this story ended, she tells you in the beginning if you didn't know the history. So I thought there would be some new discovery, something interesting to explore but there wasn't. It's just the sad story of a failed marriage.

ArapahoeTatyana Oct 18, 2016

What a remarkable time: Jazz age in Paris: so many iconic names. Also the time when traditional family principles were not valued. How will Hemingway and his wife Hadley fit into it?
A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty.
Good read!

Sep 23, 2016

These lives are so well documented that one wonders what this book adds to one's understanding of these people and their times. Why celebrate how men treated women and women treated women? Their actions were not grounded in any beliefs about living differently but only in their personal concerns. The book is quite readable, but the dialogue is sometimes awkward.

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michlmac Feb 07, 2012

michlmac thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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