Review: The Paris Wife
Once again, my book club motivated me to read a book that had been lingering on my shelves far too long. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain was our selection for June. It’s the story of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson.
Richardson met Hemingway when she visited an old roommate – the two kept in tough through letters and they married several months later. After marriage, they moved to Paris where they became part of the active expat society. Ernest and his work were a priority for them, even though it was her inheritance that made their lifestyle possible. With his ego and mental state, though, their relationship was doomed from the start.
. . . and I knew that I could hate him all I wanted for the way he was hurting me, but I couldn’t ever stop loving him, absolutely, for what he was.”
I think most people are familiar with Richardson and her relationship with Hemingway and I’m not sure The Paris Wife brought any new insight to the story. Everyone in my book club loved this book, except for me. I know things were different in the 1920s but I found Richardson dull and mousy and her story just didn’t keep my interest. McLain’s writing was the high point for me, however, and it did keep me engaged.
Having said all of that, The Paris Wife generated a great discussion. We talked about the book, its characters, and its historical accuracy for quite a while and most people had a lot to say about it.