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

27 thoughts on “The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

  1. Thanks for visiting NotJustReading. I tried an audiobook of A Moveable Feast a good many years ago and really didn’t enjoy it so I think I’ll give this book a miss. Glad you enjoyed it though 🙂


  2. I’ve never read any of Hemingway’s work, but I still think this book sounds fascinating. Since I already have it in print, I’ll probably stick to that version.


  3. I’ve not read any of Hemingway’s work and really should add that to my classics reading. I have a copy of The Paris Wife and can’t wait to read it, the author is local and I hope that she has more book signings. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed this one.


  4. Ooh, I’m always looking for good audiobooks, so I’ll have to check this one out! I had no idea it was about Hemingway. I’m not sure I’ve ever read anything by him, but I’ve always meant to. Maybe this will get me going 🙂


  5. I’m listening to the audiobook right bow and am really enjoying it too. Even though I am not really into Hemingway I am still find it fascinating.


  6. Hemingway is a throwback to school days and term papers on his works. This sounds like an interesting read and from the audio tape carried off well from your review. Maybe I’ll take the plunge and listen to it too.


  7. Nice review. I haven’t read any Hemingway since high school but I do have a copy of this book and am looking forward to reading it.


  8. I’m a Hemingway fan and I think I’ve read them all. It’s been quite a few years now. I’d enjoy this one. I like your review of it – very complete.


  9. Mary, that sounds like a really interesting book. I’ve read a few of Hemingway’s book, but nothing about his life. I’ll have to check it out when I’m done moving. Thanks for the review!


  10. Other than Old Man & the Sea I’ve only read one of his short stories. I have heard that he wasn’t the most pleasant guy to be around at times.


  11. I’ve read a few of Hemmingway’s novels as well as visited his house in Key West (a must see if you’re in the area), so this book definately appeals to me.

    Great review!


  12. Reading your review of The Paris Wife has piqued my interest in the book. I read many of Hemingway’s books in college for my English major and afterwards because I liked his writing. I always meant to find out more about his life but never did. I’m looking forward to this book about the time with his wife Hadley. Although it’s fictionalized, it sounds like we get a good idea of what Hemingway was like to live with!

    Glad to know you enjoyed this book!


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