The Paris Wife by Paula McLain has received a lot of buzz. It has been on my radar for several months, with my interest piqued. Yet, I remained cautiously optimistic that I would enjoy this title because I have not read any of Ernest Hemingway's work and know absolutely nothing about him.
The Paris Wife is the story of Elizabeth Hadley Henderson, who became Hemingway's first wife during the early years as he tried to get published. McLain credits several sources for her research, but The Paris Wife is a work of fiction. For me, who knows nothing about Hemingway this was a great story about someone famous. Unless I do some research on my own about Hemingway and his four wives, this story will ultimately act as the authority on Hadley and Ernest and their time in Paris.
Told from Hadley's perspective, this book chronicles the love story between Ernest and Hadley from meeting each other, to their marriage, move to Paris, birth of their son, their friendships with other writers including Ezra Pound and Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and Ernest's affair with Hadley's good friend, Pauline, and eventual divorce, I enjoyed each page of this novel. Paris in the 1920s was an exciting place to be and the crowd that Hemingway and Hadley were a part of was truly history in the making.
I can imagine that readers with prior knowledge about Hemingway will enjoy this book even more than I did, although even without prior knowledge, I loved The Paris Wife.
Perhaps in my near future I will be able to include some of Hemingway's work in my reading. Certainly The Paris Wife has intrigued me enough that I am anxious to learn more about this literary legend and his personal life. Book clubs will love this title, as it gives much to talk about and is a fantastic piece of historical fiction literature.