The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Title:  The Paris Wife

Author:  Paula McLain

Audiobook narrated by: Carrington MacDuffie

Genre:  Historical Fiction

About:  (from Goodreads) No twentieth-century American writer has captured the popular imagination as much as Ernest Heminway. This novel tells his story from a unique point of view — that of his first wife, Hadley. Through her eyes and voice, we experience Paris of the Lost Generation…  In the end, Hemingway would write of his first wife, “I wish I had died before I loved anyone but her.”

My thoughts:  Full disclosure: The Old Man and the Sea is the only book I’ve read by Ernest Hemingway and that was many years ago. Despite that, I was intrigued by the idea of The Paris Wife. I found Paula McLain’s story of the author and his first wife interesting and rather addicting – I didn’t want to stop listening to the audiobook. I guess that’s also a credit to narrator Carrington MacDuffie. I thought the voice she gave the characters a bit dry but still easy to listen to.

The story  revolves around the Hemingways’ life in Paris and other European spots and includes their connection with several members of the Lost Generation – F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound to name a few. They lived and partied as if nothing else mattered but their happiness.

Since we know that Hadley was Ernest’s first wife it’s not a surprise when the marriage starts to crumble. It was difficult to listen to the demise, though. If that part of the story was based on fact, I can’t believe what Hadley put up with until she couldn’t any longer. An epilogue ties everything up and inspired me to find out more about Hadley’s life after Ernest – which I plan to do!

I’m glad I read McLain’s novel and hope to read A Moveable Feast in the near future. I’d like to read Ernest’s take on those times.

Recommend?  Yes, especially the audiobook.

Source:  Library copy

Mailbox Monday – April 25



hosted in April at Passages To The Past

I bought:

synopsis from Goodreads:

Carrie McClelland came to Scotland to research her next book. Renting a cottage in the same town where her story takes place, Carrie embarks not only on her novel, but on a romance with her landlord’s handsome son, Graham Keith. When the boundary between past and present begins to blur, Carrie finds herself channeling memories not her own. Pulled deeper and deeper into the memories of the past, Carrie realizes these visions are more than the means to another bestselling novel, but also a way to right the wrongs of the past and create a future with the man whose love is her destiny.

synopsis from Goodreads:

Divorce attorney Harper James can’t catch a break. Bad enough that she runs into her ex-hubby, Nick, at her sister’s destination wedding, but now, by a cruel twist of fate, she’s being forced to make a cross-country road trip with him. And her almost-fiancé back at home is not likely to be sympathetic. Harper can’t help that Nick has come blazing back into her life in all of his frustratingly appealing, gorgeous architect glory. But in Nick’s eyes, Harper’s always been the one. If they can only get it right this time, forever might be waiting — just around the bend.

synopsis from Goodreads:

Inspired by female architect Julia Morgan, this is the riveting tale of a race against time to rebuild two luxury hotels after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed 400 city blocks and left 250,000 homeless.

Morgan’s fictional protegee Amelia Bradshaw and client J.D. Thayer will sacrifice anything to see the city they love rise from the ashes; in the process, they can’t help but lose their hearts.

What was in your mailbox?

Saturday Snapshot

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books.  It’s easy to participate – just post a picture that was taken by you, a friend, or a family member and add your link on Alyce’s site.

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A few months ago I snapped this picture of the Roosevelt Bridge in Arizona. According to information I found via a Google search it spans 1080 feet across the lake and is the longest two-lane single-span steel-arch bridge in North America.

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Title: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: A Novel

Author: Helen Simonson

Audiobook narrated by:  Peter Altschuler

Genre: Fiction

About: (from the Goodreads synopsis)  Major Ernest Pettigrew, retired, of Edgecombe St. Mary, England, is more than a little dismayed by the sloppy manners, narcissism, and materialism of modern society. The decline of gentility is evident everywhere, from tea bags to designer sweaters, to racism masquerading as tolerance.

Mutual grief allies him with Mrs. Ali, a widowed local shopkeeper of Pakistani descent who has also resigned herself to dignified, if solitary, last years. The carefully suppressed passion between these two spawns twitters of disapproval in their provincial village, but Pettigrew hasn’t time for such silliness: real estate developers are plotting to carpet the fields outside his back door with mansionettes and his sister-in-law plans to auction off a prized family firearm. Meanwhile, Mrs. Ali’s late husband’s Muslim family expects her to hand over her hard-won business to her sullen, fundamentalist nephew, a notion she finds repellant and chauvinistic.

My take: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand is a charming novel that I think most readers would enjoy. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Peter Altschuler. The voice he gave each character seemed just right. His narration made me laugh out loud more than a few times.

Helen Simonson’s novel is entertaining in a smart and humorous way. Although there were a few over-the-top minor characters I thought most seemed believable. Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali are strong and true in their convictions. They delight in each other even though they know that to pursue any kind of friendship would be frowned upon by their respective communities. Being true to themselves they become friends despite what anyone might say. That support ultimately gives each the strength to take a stand when confronted with some important challenges.

To say any more about the novel would take away the enjoyment of discovering it on your own so I’ll just say you should put it on your TBR list.

Recommend? Yes – especially the audiobook.

Source: I bought it

Mailbox Monday – April 18


hosted in April at Passages To The Past

I bought three books that have been on my wish list for a while:

Goodreads: The war has not yet touched this city of fallen grandeur, or the lives of two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha Metanova, who share a single room in a cramped apartment with their brother and parents. Their world is turned upside down when Hitler’s armies attack Russia and begin their unstoppable blitz to Leningrad . . .

Jane Austen’s beloved Sense and Sensibility has moved to Westport, Connecticut, in this enchanting modern-day homage to the classic novel.

As 28 year old New York paralegal Rebecca Strand’s widowed father lays dying, he confesses a secret: he had an affair 26 years earlier when Rebecca was just a toddler. Now he wants Rebecca to deliver the secret stash of letters he wrote, but never mailed, to the daughter he fathered.