Bets On...

The Paris Wife

February 2011

I've been looking forward to sharing THE PARIS WIFE by Paula McLain with readers since I read an advance copy last summer. It is the story of Ernest Hemingway's life with Hadley Richardson, his first wife. As I read it, I kept underlining phrases and folding down pages. By the time I was finished, I was searching my shelves for the Hemingway books written during this period, as well as the Hemingway genealogy tree. Paula's descriptions of Hemingway's world --- set in a blissful and exciting time in Paris during the Jazz Age --- are so vivid and richly descriptive that you will feel you are seated at a table somewhere in the room watching them and their new literati pals. She also captures their love story, which is both turbulent and loving.

Though he went on to marry three more times, it's clear that Hadley was very good for Hemingway, and you wonder what his world would have been like had they stayed together.

Asked for a comparable title, I would easily select Nancy Horan's LOVING FRANK, and in fact Horan has a blurb on the cover of THE PARIS WIFE. They both give great insight into men who are powerful legends in their fields from the women who were close to them. In January, I had the pleasure of meeting Paula in San Diego and hearing her read from the opening chapter of THE PARIS WIFE; as she read, I found myself recalling the rush I had when I first read it. Her style of writing is perfect for this story, as she knows how to capture emotion and work it into dialogue as well as crafting a strong sense of plot and setting.

The Paris Wife
by Paula McLain

  • Publication Date: February 22, 2011
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0345521307
  • ISBN-13: 9780345521309