I had been waiting for so long for a book to sweep me off my feet. Carry me away so that all I could think about was turning the next page and reading, reading, reading…with that wild abandon. You know, the kind where your kids haven’t been fed, and the beds haven’t been made but you’re curled up reading because you can’t think of anything else.
It happened to me with The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. I was transported to Paris in the 1920’s when Picasso walked the streets with a canvas in progress; F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway shared drinks at a nearby cafe, and Coco Chanel dressed elegant Parisiennes in black sheaths with pearls.
The Paris Wife is a fictional account of Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage. A young, struggling writer, Hemingway met Hadley in Chicago, and together they went to Paris where his career and persona exploded.
While I loved the descriptions of Paris, the French Riviera and Spain, the heart of the novel is Hemingway and Hadley’s blissful and turbulent romance. Reading of their courtship, I too fell in love with Hemingway – his talent, his fiery temperament coupled with a tenderness beyond words, and his movie star good looks. See below for a picture of Hadley and Hem’s wedding.
Along with Hadley’s, my heart broke too when Hemingway’s charm could not keep his demons or humanity at bay. McLain drew me into this story so completely that I read the book in one sitting. Read this and to escape to Paris in its heyday – where love and art bloomed in beautiful synergy.