Reader reviews and comments on The Paris Wife, plus links to write your own review.

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The Paris Wife

A Novel

By Paula McLain

The Paris Wife
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • Hardcover: Feb 2011,
    336 pages.
    Paperback: Nov 2012,
    352 pages.

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Kim B. (Arlington, TX) (12/14/10)

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
This book was a good read. It caught my attention right away and never let go. Paula McLain did an excellent job of writing & there was a lot of historical famous names that added to the story. I knew Hemingway for a great writer, but learned the other side of his life, which had a lot of hard moments to get through. Though he was a brilliant writer, in the end was it all worth it. I high recommend this book for book club read.
Sandra H. (St. Cloud, Minnesota) (12/11/10)

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
McLain’s novel took me back to the Hemingway stories and novels I have read as well as calling up much of what I once knew about the expatriates following WW1, of whom Hemingway was a member. McLain’s book does an excellent job of setting the scene first in the US and later in Europe of the wild life led by many young people who bought into living a Bohemian life with sex and seemingly endless drinking as well as using drugs. McLain lets Hadley tell of her infatuation with the charismatic writer (eight years younger than she is), their decision to marry and move to Paris. Readers realize early that this is not a relationship that can last. The best parts of the book are the descriptions of Paris which seems almost like a small town where the artists and writers, including Gertrude Stein, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and others who form a united if unstable group of friends, as well as the descriptions of the bull fighting in Spain.

I really felt I was living in this unstable world and sympathized with Hadley as she watched her marriage fall apart while Ernest became more and more concerned with his own reputation and with fitting into a world that she could not accept. If for no other reason, the novel is worth reading for taking us back to a time many of us know little about.
Rosemary T. (San Antonio, TX) (12/09/10)

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
I highly recommend reading The Paris Wife by Paula McLain for anyone who has ever read any of Ernest Hemingway's work. It is an absorbing and compelling novel describing the early years of Hemingway's life as a struggling writer written through the voice of his first wife Hadley. The reader is also introduced to the circle of Hemingway friends, many becoming well-known names in today's literary world also. Upon completing the novel, I found myself wondering if Hemingway would have persevered during his early years to become the writer we know today if he hadn't been married to Hadley during this period. I found the book fascinating and now feel compelled to read A Movable Feast.
Cheryl W. (Faribault, Mn) (12/08/10)

I enjoyed this book for the description of the 20's life style. The relationship was dysfunctional and Hemingway so needy. After reading this book my interest was peaked and I went on to do further research about Hemingway and his life.
Debra C. (Vienna, Georgia) (12/07/10)

Ooh La La - A Paris Wife!
What a kismet - a chance to review a novel about one of my favorite authors! Having read nearly every available Hemingway biography, I found I absolutely could not put down The Paris Wife. McLain's approach - written from Hadley's point of
view - was unique and only enhanced my interest as I read. Other reviewers may disagree with me, but I genuinely feel that if you are a fan of Hemingway's work and find yourself yearning to know more about his life, The Paris Wife will
be more than a satisfactory read!
Frances B. (Virginia Beach, Virginia) (12/07/10)

The Paris Wife
What a beautifully written and entertaining book!

It was a treat to be transported to Paris and experience life in the exciting 20's. Anyone who enjoys Ernest Hemingway will love the intimate story of his early years with first wife, Hadley. After reading this book, I wanted to read even more of his work!
Sharon S. (Stanley, N.C.) (12/07/10)

"The Paris Wife" by Paula McLain
Author Paula McLain has written a substantial novel about Hemingway's early years and his first wife Hadley Richardson. After the pair wed in the early 1920's they set sail for Paris where the bohemian lifestyle is conducive to Hemingway's writing. As a great fan of Hemingway's, I had not delved into his early life or his many wives history. I could not put this book down, in fact I was sitting in cafes in Paris with Hemingway and the likes of Gertrude Stein,Ezra Pound, and the famous couple F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald! My book clubs can't wait for the release of this novel on March 8, 2011!
Mary S. (Hilton Head Island, SC) (12/06/10)

Compelling and Engrossing
The author has managed to portray the tortured and complex life of the young Hemingway in a very believable way, Hadley Richardson comes to life as a woman who struggles in an era where the role of women is changing and uncertain. Perhaps the author's greatest strength is that her writing style is much like Hemingway's -- crisp, clear, and concise. A must read for all Hemingway fans and a great introduction for those who are not acquainted with his tragic story.
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Beyond the Book:
  Hemingway's Leading Ladies

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