The Paris Wife

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The Paris Wife

by Paula Mclain

Doubleday Canada | February 22, 2011 | Hardcover

The Paris Wife is rated 3.9048 out of 5 by 21.
An instant national bestseller, this stunningly evocative, beautifully rendered story told in the voice of Ernest Hemingway''s first wife, Hadley, has the same power and historical richness that made Loving Frank a bestseller.

No twentieth-century American writer has captured the popular imagination as much as Ernest Hemingway. This novel tells his story from a unique point of view - that of his first wife, Hadley. Through her eyes and voice, we experience Paris of the Lost Generation and meet fascinating characters such as Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and Gerald and Sara Murphy. The city and its inhabitants provide a vivid backdrop to this engrossing and wrenching story of love and betrayal that is made all the more poignant knowing that, in the end, Hemingway would write of his first wife, "I wish I had died before I loved anyone but her."

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 336 pages, 9.67 × 6.57 × 1.08 in

Published: February 22, 2011

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385669224

ISBN - 13: 9780385669221

Found in: Fiction and Literature
The Paris Wife is a delicious story … one that transports you to a moment in time when the stars collided, at least for a precious few. From the inside jacket cover… “In 1920 Chicago, Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight year old who has all but given up on love and happiness until she meets the youthful returning war hero Ernest Hemmingway and is captivated by his good looks, intensity, and passionate desire to write. After a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair decamp to Paris. Soon they are the golden couple at the heart of a lively and volatile group of expats that include Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Sara and Gerald Murphy. We are drawn into their life – their intimate moments and the social whirlwind post World War 1 when everyone wanted to live each day as if it were the last. But hard drinking, fast-living Jazz-age Paris is at odds with the traditional notions of family and monogamy. As Ernest galvanizes his creative ambition, Hadley who can’t help but feel something of an outsider, struggles with jealousy and self doubt. Eventually the pair confront a deception that could prove the undoing of one of the great romances in literary history. A heart wrenching tale of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant for knowing that, at the end of his life, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.” This novelized biography will captivate you and make you want to reach out all over again for the closest copies of The Old Man and the Sea, For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms or A Moveable Feast. Find a quiet corner and enjoy every page!

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this book This book will make you feel like you are in 1920's Paris. Fantastic read.
Date published: 2015-04-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Fell short This book was recommended to me and I'm not sure what I expected, but I was "waiting for something" of significance to happen for a while. While I'm happy I could delve into the life of someone so revered and those around him, it fell short for me.
Date published: 2012-10-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from There's always two sides to every story Hadley first met Ernest Hemingway at a friend’s party when he was just a young budding writer. A whirlwind courtship began and they soon found themselves living the life in Paris, surrounded by fellow writers and mentors. As Ernest works hard to make a name for himself, he stops at nothing to gain that success – regardless of the bridges he burns and the people he hurts. Whether you know much about the man himself, Ernest Hemingway is a household name. However, fewer people know about Hadley Richardson, and McLain does a great job of shedding light to this woman who was not only a wife but a muse to the famous writer. Admittedly, I didn’t know much about either of these characters, so The Paris Wife allowed me to get to know both of them. With no preconceived notions of what Hemingway was like, I found this factual/fictional account to be quite eye-opening. As the saying goes, there’s always two sides to every story. My lack of prior knowledge of Hemingway may have hindered some aspects of the story, where I might not have grasped the significance of the people or the moment in the scene, but I merely looked at it as part of the overall picture. McLain’s writing is eloquent and beautiful, a fitting narrative for the time period and setting for this novel. She tells a strong tale of young unrequited love developing into the later bickering married life. Even though I gathered what the end result of the story would be, the journey that lead to that point is all together satisfying. You feel, as the reader, that you’re growing with this young woman as she comes into her own and seeing the world through her eyes. You experience her joys and anguishes, her trials and tribulations; seemingly all from the vantage point of her memoir. This, and other reviews can be found on my blog JustALilLost.com
Date published: 2012-04-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Left me thinking Though I knew how it would end,as it is based on true facts, I was still finding myself emotionally involved. I'm not one to read historical books but enjoyed the scenery, the characters and of course their love. I often think back on this story.
Date published: 2012-03-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not quite what I expected... To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what I expected out of this book, but I did end up really liking it! It was a book that made you say "are you kidding me? how could you put up with that?" but the more you read it, the more you can understand Hadley's decisions... and the fact that this book can do that is what makes it a great read.
Date published: 2011-12-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A keeper! An enjoyable read from beginning to end. Don't usually read "love" stories but so glad I pick this one up.
Date published: 2011-11-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Didn't identify with the characters I found this book a difficult read. I had trouble finishing it. I picked up the book based on the premise (a book written from the point of view of Hemmingways wife). I found the characters frustrating and difficult to follow and didn't identify with anything in the book.
Date published: 2011-11-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Eye opener of the roaring 20s The Paris Wife is a well researched fiction of Ernest Hemingway's early years told by his first wife Hadley Richardson.From the start of their relationship there was unbalance,he was in love with himself and his career. Hardley was there to listen and love him. It was the roaring 20s...allot of drinking,unsual lifestyle,open love affairs, joy and sadness. Hemingway wrote at the end of his life that he would have rather die than fall in love with anyone but his first wife Hadley Richardson. It's a story of love and torn loyalty.
Date published: 2011-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great story This novel/biography is from the point of view of Hadley Richardson, Ernest Hemingway's first wife. It depicts the time line of meeting in Chicago, travelling to Paris, having a child in Toronto and back to Paris. The author has managed to capture the characters and the ambiance of the 1920s. Nowadays we have our 'bad' celebs like Paris Hilton. This story takes the reader on a journey of how two people in love degrade into these 'bad' people along with the others of the time like Gertrude Stein and Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. The reader does not know whether to feel sorry for Hadley and her love and support of the larger than life Hemingway or wring her neck over her seeming 'wimpiness'. McLain brought the characters to life and made me first google about Hemingway's life and second want to read some of his novels a second time.
Date published: 2011-10-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Cost of the "Good Life" Before there were the Paris Hilton's and Kim Kardasian's of the world, there was Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Stein and many others. Decadence of the rich and famous and those seeking notoriety is not new, but this story beautifully showed the descent into hell that occurs when you give up your integrity when chasing that life. This part of the writing I loved. It was rich and soulful and carrried the story to the end. However, I wasn't sure throughout the story whether we should feel sorry for Hadley or admire her for the way she handled the life she chose with Hemingway, and the cost she paid for that life. You can decide for yourself, but I never really got invested in her while reading the story. His demons on the other hand were very compelling. I think that may be part of the brilliance of the book.
Date published: 2011-08-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, Easy Read I found this book to be a good love story and an easy read. The writing some simple and straight forward, with a poetic edge. I have never thought of Ernest Hemingway this way so it was definatley interesting. You follow the love story from beginning to end. Definately a summer read!
Date published: 2011-08-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Book I enjoyed the book though it got a little "slow" in the middle. It is a good and easy book!
Date published: 2011-07-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wrestling with the word and the characters I admit that I could not put down a book that held my attention like The Paris Wife did. However, I agonized over the characters and I wanted to kick every single one of them in the seat of the pants. They were agonizing and frustrating to the very end. Well written book but perhaps not to everyone's liking.
Date published: 2011-07-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Oh, the agony! (of these characters' lives) - but well written! I picked up this book because it had an interesting premise: a story told from the point of view of Ernest Hemingway's wife. I also like that it is based on true events (did a search about Hemingway while reading this book). Like many other reviewers, I agree that the characters were frustrating to follow, even Hadley in her flip-flopping emotions and despair as she held onto Hemingway's affection. The author did an amazing job of telling the story and weaving in many of their friends and acquaintances, while describing their surroundings, between skiing and dining with friends, the bulls charging through the streets of Spain, and so on. I found it was so well-written that I couldn't put it down. I was intrigued by the ending, particularly the author's reference to other titles that she used to help her along with the story, so I might do some further reading (see my recommendations for titles).
Date published: 2011-07-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from May have to re-read some Hemingway This is a beautifully written book, bringing to life the Paris (and other locales such as Chicago) during the roaring twenties. There were times when reading The Paris Wife that I really disliked Hadley and Ernest. I found her whiny and too passive much of the time and he was just a jerk. I realize I am thinking too much with a modern mindset, which was still very new then, and is probably unfair of me. There are spoilers below for anyone who doesn't know how their story plays out. Near the end when the affair gets more intense, I really grew to hate Pauline and Ernest. I was frustrated with Hadley for being such a pushover about the whole thing. The only thing that made me feel better was knowing that Pauline would also be left in the dirt for Ernest's next conquest. It occured to me then, that the goal of great fiction is to draw you into the story and to wreak havoc with your emotions. This book certainly did that to me and I applaude the author. I may also have to re-read some of Hemingway now that I know a bit more about the circumstances. I hated The Sun Also Rises, but I think I understand it a bit more now.
Date published: 2011-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW! I just finished reading this book and I loved it. I loved the author's writing and the way she described and conveyed Paris in the 1920's. The story was agonizing but also beautiful. At times it was frustrating and painful to read but I liked that the book makes you feel and think in a way that many other books just can't. It is one of the best books I have read in a while.
Date published: 2011-05-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thank You Heather... For making this novel one of your picks! By doing so, you brought it to my attention, and I just loved every word of it. This is a fictionalized chronicle of Ernest Hemmingway's early days in Paris with his first wife Hadley, and told almost exclusively from her perspective. Not only is it a compelling tale about a literary giant, it's a compelling tale about a time and a place that was so unlike any other. You will be captivated from the first page, transported back to the great Jazz Age, and will lose yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of Paris in these pages - and if you're like me, you may even find yourself falling a little bit in love with "Tatie" I can't recommend this one enough, and have already begun to pass it around to friends. I may even have to re-visit some of Hemingways classics after this! Absolutely worthy!
Date published: 2011-04-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Loved Paris, tolerated the wife I'm normally a huge fan of books recommended in "Heather's picks". Not so much this time. Love Paris... even love some of Hemingway's haunts in Paris... so I thought I would enjoy this book. As it turns out, Paris was as grand as ever, the book is well written, but the characters are unfortunately agonizing. The Paris Wife (Hadley) is someone you root for while simultaneously becoming quickly annoyed with her tolerance and her lack of backbone. Hemingway is a cad, a scoundrel, a terrible friend and an even worse husband. Thank goodness for the Epilogue or I might have been turned off all things Hemingway permanently. A hesitant recommendation.
Date published: 2011-04-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A unique perspective An engaging version of how Hemingway's first wife saw their life together. McLain's writing pulled this reader right into their story. A peek at an unusual lifestyle, full of light and dark, joy, laughter, and sadness. A well written slice of life.
Date published: 2011-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED IT! This was a fabulous book. Has inspired me to want to read all of Hemingway's books.
Date published: 2011-03-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A delicious story The Paris Wife is a delicious story … one that transports you to a moment in time when the stars collided, at least for a precious few. From the inside jacket cover… “In 1920 Chicago, Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight year old who has all but given up on love and happiness until she meets the youthful returning war hero Ernest Hemmingway and is captivated by his good looks, intensity, and passionate desire to write. After a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair decamp to Paris. Soon they are the golden couple at the heart of a lively and volatile group of expats that include Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Sara and Gerald Murphy. We are drawn into their life – their intimate moments and the social whirlwind post World War 1 when everyone wanted to live each day as if it were the last. But hard drinking, fast-living Jazz-age Paris is at odds with the traditional notions of family and monogamy. As Ernest galvanizes his creative ambition, Hadley who can’t help but feel something of an outsider, struggles with jealousy and self doubt. Eventually the pair confront a deception that could prove the undoing of one of the great romances in literary history. A heart wrenching tale of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant for knowing that, at the end of his life, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.” This novelized biography will captivate you and make you want to reach out all over again for the closest copies of The Old Man and the Sea, For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms or A Moveable Feast. Find a quiet corner and enjoy every page!
Date published: 2011-02-14

– More About This Product –

The Paris Wife

by Paula Mclain

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 336 pages, 9.67 × 6.57 × 1.08 in

Published: February 22, 2011

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385669224

ISBN - 13: 9780385669221

Read from the Book

ONE The very first thing he does is fix me with those wonderfully brown eyes and say, "It''s possible I''m too drunk to judge, but you might have something there." It''s October 1920 and jazz is everywhere. I don''t know any jazz, so I''m playing Rachmaninoff. I can feel a flush beginning in my cheeks from the hard cider my dear pal Kate Smith has stuffed down me so I''ll relax. I''m getting there, second by second. It starts in my fingers, warm and loose, and moves along my nerves, rounding through me. I haven''t been drunk in over a year--not since my mother fell seriously ill--and I''ve missed the way it comes with its own perfect glove of fog, settling snugly and beautifully over my brain. I don''t want to think and I don''t want to feel, either, unless it''s as simple as this beautiful boy''s knee inches from mine. The knee is nearly enough on its own, but there''s a whole package of a man attached, tall and lean, with a lot of very dark hair and a dimple in his left cheek you could fall into. His friends call him Hemingstein, Oinbones, Bird, Nesto, Wemedge, anything they can dream up on the spot. He calls Kate Stut or Butstein (not very flattering!), and another fellow Little Fever, and yet another Horney or the Great Horned Article. He seems to know everyone, and everyone seems to know the same jokes and stories. They telegraph punch lines back and forth in code, lightning fast and wisecracking. I can''t keep up, but I don''t mind really. Being near these happy strange
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From the Publisher

An instant national bestseller, this stunningly evocative, beautifully rendered story told in the voice of Ernest Hemingway''s first wife, Hadley, has the same power and historical richness that made Loving Frank a bestseller.

No twentieth-century American writer has captured the popular imagination as much as Ernest Hemingway. This novel tells his story from a unique point of view - that of his first wife, Hadley. Through her eyes and voice, we experience Paris of the Lost Generation and meet fascinating characters such as Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and Gerald and Sara Murphy. The city and its inhabitants provide a vivid backdrop to this engrossing and wrenching story of love and betrayal that is made all the more poignant knowing that, in the end, Hemingway would write of his first wife, "I wish I had died before I loved anyone but her."

About the Author

PAULA MCLAIN was born in Fresno, CA in 1965. After being abandoned by both parents, she and her two sisters became wards of the California Court System, moving in and out of foster homes for the next 14 years. Eventually, she discovered she could — and wanted to — write. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan in 1996, and since then has been a resident at Yaddo and the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is the author of two collections of poetry, a much-praised memoir called Like Family (Little Brown, 2003), and one previous and well-received novel, A Ticket to Ride. Paula McLain lives in Cleveland, OH with her family.

Editorial Reviews

“McLain creates a compelling, spellbinding portrait of a marriage. . . . Women of all ages and situations will sympathize as they follow this seemingly charmed union to its inevitable demise. Colorful details of the expat life in Jazz Age Paris, combined with the evocative story of the Hemingways’ romance, result in a compelling story that will undoubtedly establish McLain as a writer of substance. Highly recommended for all readers of popular fiction.” — Library Journal   “McLain offers a vivid addition to the complex-woman-behind-the-legendary-man genre, bringing Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson, to life . . . McLain ably portrays the cultural icons of the 1920s—Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, and Ezra and Dorothy Pound—and the impact they have on the then unknown Hemingway, casting Hadley as a rock of Gibraltar for a troubled man whose brilliance and talent were charged and compromised by his astounding capacity for alcohol and women . . . The heart of the story—Ernest and Hadley''s relationship—gets an honest reckoning, most notably the waves of elation and despair that pull them apart.” — Publishers Weekly "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   "A beautiful portrait of being in Paris in the glittering
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