Hemingway's Leading Ladies: Background information when reading The Paris Wife

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The Paris Wife

A Novel

by Paula McLain

The Paris Wife
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2011, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2012, 352 pages

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Beyond the Book:
Hemingway's Leading Ladies

Paula McLain's novel, The Paris Wife, centers on the relationship between Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Elizabeth Hadley Richardson. However, over the course of his life (1899-1961) Ernest Hemingway married four different women, each unique and interesting in her own right:

Elizabeth Hadley Richardson Elizabeth Hadley Richardson: Born on November 9, 1891, Hadley was raised in a rather cheerless household. She suffered a serious injury as a child when she fell out of a second-story window, putting her in the hospital for months and igniting her mother's overprotection. This, plus the suicide of her father when she was 12, contributed to Hadley's severe shyness, and she sought refuge from her difficult childhood in music. After her mother's death, Hadley visited a friend in Chicago, whereupon she met Ernest. They were married on September 3, 1921 and shortly thereafter moved to Paris. On October 10, 1923, John Hadley Nicanor Hemingway (Bumby) was born, Ernest's first child. However, during his time ...

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