Book Review: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Title: The Paris Wife

By: Paula McLain

This review is sponsored by: http:/

About the Author (From the Book):

Paula McLain is the author of a memoir, Like Family; a novel, A Ticket to Ride, and two volumes of poetry. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her family.

ISBN:     9781844086689

Cover Price:       Rs. 395.00

Rating:  5/5

Something about the book (from the Book’s cover):

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a shy twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness when she meets Ernest Hemmingway and is captivated by his energy, intensity and burning ambition. After a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for France. But glamorous Jazz Age Pairs, full of artists and writers, fuelled by alcohol and gossip, is no place for family life and fidelity. Ernest and Hadley’s marriage begins to founder, and the birth of a beloved son only drives them further apart. Then, at last, Ernest’s ferocious literary endeavours bring him recognition – not least from a woman intent on making him her own...

Now for my View:

There was just something about this book that caught my fancy from the moment I put my hand on it. The cover with a woman seated in a cafe probably somewhere in Paris dressed in clothes symbolising the early 1900s was enticing enough to draw me towards it. Perhaps it’s the allure of the times when life was tough yet satisfying and regal yet unpretentious that I greatly love. Tales set in that period always manage to become my precious possessions and I must admit happily that this was not an exception either. Sherlock Holmes or now the Paris Wife, the life and times of the black and white era are definitely my all time favourite.

The Paris Wife is about Hadley Richardson the first Wife of Ernest Hemmingway. She was twenty eight when she met Hemmingway who was years younger than her. The magic and the exuberance of Hemmingway drew her towards him. His passion for writing and the zeal with which he pursued his dream attracted her instantly. After a traumatic childhood, Hadley had already given up on love when Hemmingway walked into her life. But all that changed and they married after a brisk courtship. But that was just the beginning of their story, their eternal tale or was it?

The story is set around the time when the visionaries of the literary world had all gathered in Paris for that was the most throbbing scene of art and culture. Hadley and Hemmingway too ventured towards Paris around that time with the sole goal of realising the latter’s dream. The story is about Hadley who was a loving wife who not only adored her husband greatly but made his dream her own too. She accepted him along with his erratic schedules of writing and her long hours of seclusion while he was on his writing high.

Alcohol, gossip, affairs, complicated relationships and the intricate minds of artists were beyond the simplicity of Hadley who was just a down-to-earth woman. All she desired was a life with her husband, a child and probably a happily ever after. But Hemmingway was nothing like her. He didn’t want to be tied down by domestic responsibilities infact he wasn’t even ready for their own child. Surely he needed Hadley as he was insecure in many ways but there was nothing traditional about his bond with her. He needed her to write as he was incapable of writing when alone. On top of that his alienating nature made Hadley his sole strength in his days of struggle. But all that changed when he began to receive attention and popularity. Infidelity seeped in and Hadley’s relationship with him was challenged by another woman. But she probably knew that was destined to happen, it wasn't really a surprise for her.

The book is a must read for its language, the nuances of the descriptions of Hadley’s feelings, the paraphernalia and the fact that it is the true story of the characters in question. So I recommend it to one and all. It is a book that cannot be left unread.

Perhaps if Hadley wouldn’t have married Ernest Hemmingway, this book would have never been written. But I am glad it was and though at first it might seem that she was a woman without ambition at the end of it all you realise that she was just like any other woman, any other wife. And it need not be told that a wife, a woman is never weak, never without ambition. The book is about a woman who gave up a lot for the man she loved. The book is about the strength of a woman, the strength that a man could never possess, whether at that enchanting time or in the present day.

A word about the great people from who made it possible for me to read this book. I am glad that I am part of their review program. They don’t just send you any book but the best books out there that one could get their hands on. You can find this and more amazing books on their website.

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