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The Paris Wife by Paula McLain Review

Title: The Paris Wife

Author: Paula McLain

First published February 27, 2011

314 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9780345521309 (ISBN10: 0345521307)

Rating: 3.82


In 1920s Chicago, Hadley Richardson’s life is turned upside down when she meets the charming and passionate Ernest Hemingway. They embark on a whirlwind romance and marry, and soon find themselves in the heart of the vibrant and tumultuous “Lost Generation” in Paris.

Surrounded by the likes of Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and the Fitzgeralds, the Hemingways struggle to navigate a world of excess and infidelity. As Ernest strives to establish himself as a writer, Hadley grapples with her role as a dutiful wife and muse.

But when a devastating deception threatens to tear them apart, they must confront the fragility of their love and loyalty. The Paris Wife is a captivating tale of a love that endures against all odds, and a heartbreaking reminder of what it means to lose the one you hold most dear.

About the Author

Meet Paula McLain, a bestselling author whose captivating novels include The Paris Wife, Circling the Sun, and Love and Ruin. Her latest book, When the Stars Go Dark, is a suspenseful tale of intertwined destinies that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Paula earned her MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan in 1996 and has also written two collections of poetry, a memoir titled Like Family: Growing Up in Other People’s Houses, and her debut novel, A Ticket to Ride. Her writing has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, Real Simple, Town & Country, The Guardian, Huffington Post, and Good Housekeeping.

Paula currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio with her family.

Editoral Review

Lovers of modern literature and fans of historical fiction will be spellbound by Paula McLain’s “The Paris Wife”. Published in 2011, this book is a vibrant tale of love, passion, and betrayal set in the vibrant cultural city of Paris during the 1920s.

With beautiful prose and vivid imagery, McLain effectively transports readers to a different era, where they witness the lives of some of the most influential and artistic personalities of the time. McLain, an American author known for her works of historical fiction, earned her degree in English from the University of Michigan before earning an MFA from the University of Michigan in 1996.

Since then, she has written numerous books and has been the recipient of several literary awards, including the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for her novel “The Paris Wife”. The Paris Wife is a fictional work inspired by the life of Hadley Hemingway, the first wife of the internationally acclaimed author, Ernest Hemingway.

Set in the post-World War I era when the arts were thriving and Paris was the center of cultural revolution, McLain explores the struggles and triumphs of Hadley and Ernest’s passionate yet tumultuous relationship in this enthralling novel. The novel follows the story of Hadley Richardson, a young and naive woman from St. Louis, who moves to Paris in hopes of escaping a tumultuous past.

There, she falls madly in love with Ernest Hemingway, an aspiring writer. The two quickly embark upon a passionate courtship and get married.

However, as their relationship blossoms, their lives soon become filled with infidelity, betrayal, and heartbreak. One of the main strengths of McLain’s book is her ability to paint a vivid picture of the time period and characters.

Through her use of rich language and descriptive dialogue, she brings the sights, sounds, and smells of Paris to life like never before. The characters, too, are fully-realized, multi-dimensional individuals that readers will care deeply about.

Hadley, in particular, is a captivating protagonist, whose journey is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Furthermore, the book provides an illuminating look at the cultural significance of the era, with a keen eye on the politics and social norms that were prevalent at the time.

It explores the complexities of love, passion, and human nature in equal measure, forcing readers to confront the darker aspects of their own emotions. While The Paris Wife shines in many areas, its plot sometimes lags, and the pacing may not be to everyone’s liking.

Nonetheless, the overall quality of the writing, structure, and character development more than make up for its minor flaws. In conclusion, “The Paris Wife” is an exceptional novel that immerses readers in a bygone era filled with creativity, tumultuousness, and beauty.

Anyone with an interest in historical fiction or romance will enjoy this novel, but it will particularly appeal to those looking for a deeper exploration of the complexities of human love and the artistic sphere. With its beautiful writing, compelling plot, and well-developed characters, it is an unforgettable work of literature that readers will cherish for years to come.

Washington Post gives this book a rating of 9 out of 10.

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