Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

The Paris Wife

by Paula McLain

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,8782981,328 (3.7)305
  1. 80
    A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway (alanteder, codehooligans)
  2. 20
    The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (kiwiflowa)
  3. 43
    The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (voracious)
    voracious: A female perspective of a similar time period with a romantic, optimistic point of view. Similar as it describes the joy of love and finding the perfect words.
  4. 10
    Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler (shearon)
  5. 00
    Mrs Hemingway by Naomi Wood (Christy.Riege)
  6. 00
    Scott Fitzgerald: A Biography by Jeffrey Meyers (KayCliff)
  7. 00
    Alabama Song by Gilles Leroy (Cecilturtle)
  8. 00
    Hadley by Gioia Diliberto (alanteder)
  9. 00
    The Garden on Sunset (Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels Book 1) by Martin Turnbull (heatherlove)
    heatherlove: Set in the same era but Garden on Sunset is set in Hollywood instead of Paris, like The Paris Wife.
  10. 00
    F. SCOTT FITZGERALD, THE LAST TYCOON by Robert Sklar (KayCliff)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 305 mentions

English (297)  German (3)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  All (303)
Showing 1-5 of 297 (next | show all)
Historical fiction about hemmingway's first wife ( )
  cjordan916 | Feb 26, 2017 |
[The Paris Wife], [[Paula McLain]]

The bare facts of this fictionalized biography are Hadley Richardson met Earnest Hemmingway in Chicago in 1920, they married in 1921, lived in Paris for most of their marriage and divorced in 1927. At the same time she provides a good view of the 1920's Paris literary scene with Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ford Maddox Ford amd other American authors.

Paula McLain, while keeping to the facts builds on this and presents a well rounded account of the marriage. Hadley grows into a strong woman, true to herself and her ongoing love for Ernest. In Hemingway you find a man, although broken and afraid from events in WW I and in need of friends and support, willing to step on his friends and make fun of them and their talents in his writing. Easily led by Pauline he turns his back on the best person and support in his life. He doesn't come out of this book looking well.
Reviewed ( )
  pmarshall | Feb 19, 2017 |
While I've never read a Hemingway book, I've always heard that he drank a lot and could be a hard man to get along with. I have seen his house in Key West and saw some of the bars he supposedly hung out in. I was rather taken back in the size of his house there. However, after reading this book, it was at a time when he wasn't as well known. So that explains that.

I did learn a lot about Hemingway that I did not know and also his friends. From this book, I went back and forth on liking him. I atrociously detest what he and Pauline did to Hadley. I was also appalled at the behavior of some of their friends, especially the Fitzgeralds.

I did enjoy going back in history and learning more about Hadley and her relationship with Hemingway. As I said, I didn't know much about him and I found it fascinating to learn about them. This was a very entertaining and interesting book. I'm going to have to find a copy of "The Sun Also Rises" and see if it's true that he did write it for Bumby and Hadley.

Purchased by reviewer. ( )
  debkrenzer | Feb 6, 2017 |
Wonderful book. This story about Ernest Hemingway and his first wife is rich in time, place, detail, and dialog. It's emotional, beautiful, tragic and interesting. I won't attempt to give a synopsis as you can read those just about everywhere, for what it's worth. Reading this book ignited a new interest in Hemingway's work and also the author's work. This from someone who is almost never interested in famous people unless they are truly interesting individuals. Status and fame alone aren't enough to make a person interesting to me.

Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley, lived mostly in Paris and traveled in Europe. Their evolving circle of friends included other writers and artists of the time: Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Zelda Fitzgerald and others. For all the historic details provided about people and places, the book was fascinating. Customs among this crowd ranged from charming to bizarre.

The author brings these people and this period to life profoundly. A thoroughly lovely read as well as a learning experience. I have only praise for the author.

( )
  Rascalstar | Jan 21, 2017 |
I was never terribly interested in Hemingway in my undergrad years but after my husband gave me A MOVEABLE FEAST to read before our trip to Paris for our honeymoon, I've started a love affair with the man. THE PARIS WIFE piqued my interest from the date of its publication but it was one of those books that the reviews always seemed to be mixed: People either really loved it or found it to be boring and unworthy as a historical fiction portrait of Hemingway/Hadley. I hemed and hawed on purchasing the novel, but waiting list at the library (which was forever long), so I finally sucked it up and bought it on my Kindle.

As a historical portrait of the time and period, I found much of the novel to be spot on. It was clearly very well researched in that regard. But that's where the books promise ends - the characters were all flat and Hadley was simpering and weak. The big pitch about the storyline was Hadley was a woman very much toe to toe with Hemingway in wit, intelligence, and in life and you get none of this in this book. At times I found the book a struggle to get through, but I finished it out of stubbornness.

A ficiotnalized history of someone should be written to inspire the reader to learning more about the person(s) of the time and this is the big failure of A PARIS WIFE. If I had not already had a burgeoning interest in Hemingway and a vague obsession for Paris in the '20s, this book would not have sent me in pursuit to learn more about the man or his crowd, which is a travesty.

There were also a few nitpicky editing decisions that were out of sync. For example, there is a scene where Hadley/Hemingway are having loads of hot sexytimes and then a few paragraphs later, they go have hot sexytimes again but Hemingway gets in a snit because they forgot to bring condoms - which totally belies the previous scene where they were having hot sexytimes all over the place. There are also issues where continuity was in question and never addresed.

I would not recommend this title because it does a disservice to Hemingway/Hadley, the writing is often flat and a lot of the supporting characters that were larger then life (Gertrude Steine, Fitzgerald, etc) seemed like secondary puppets on a small supporting stage. I gave it a three because there are a few moments of brilliancy in the book, but often it is from direct quotes of Hemingway's work. ( )
1 vote byshieldmaiden | Jan 17, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 297 (next | show all)
Paula McLain has built “The Paris Wife” around Hadley. Or at least she has planted Hadley in the midst of a lot of famous, ambitious people. The advantage to this technique is that it allows the reader to rub shoulders and bend elbows with celebrated literary types: the stay-at-home way of feeling like the soigné figure on the book cover. The drawback is that Ms. McLain’s Hadley, when not in big-league company that overshadows her, isn’t a subtly drawn character. She’s thick, and not just in physique. She’s slow on the uptake, and she can be a stodgy bore.
Indeed, this book is a more risky affair than its sometimes sugary surface betrays. Taking up the Hemingway story inevitably means comparisons with Papa himself, and McLain courageously draws fire by including interludes written from his perspective: hard-bitten monologues with such lines as "You might as well bring yourself down and make yourself stinking sick with all you do because this is the only world there is." It's not exactly up there with John Cheever's classic parody, but it certainly does the job.

An appealing companion volume to A Moveable Feast, then, but once it's finished, turn back to the original, with its cool, impressionistic prose. It can hardly be said that the least interesting thing about Hemingway is the way he lived his life, but let's not forget that it's his writing that endures.
An imaginative, elegantly written look inside the marriage of Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Richardson.
added by Shortride | editKirkus Reviews (Jan 15, 2011)
Colorful details of the expat life in Jazz Age Paris, combined with the evocative story of the Hemingways' romance, result in a compelling story that will undoubtedly establish McLain as a writer of substance. Highly recommended for all readers of popular fiction.
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Susanne Wells (Nov 15, 2010)
The Paris Wife, McLain has taken their love story, partially told by Hemingway himself in A Moveable Feast, and fashioned a novel that's impossible to resist. It's all here, and it all feels real...
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
It is not what France gave you but what it did not take from you that was important. -Gertrude Stein
There's no one thing that's true. It's all true. -Ernest Hemingway
First words
Though I often looked for one, I finally had to admit that there could be no cure for Paris.
He wanted everything there was to have, and more than that.
We had the best of each other.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
History is sadly neglectful of the supporting players in the lives of great artists. Fortunately, fiction provides ample opportunity to bring these often fascinating personalities out into the limelight. Gaynor Arnold successfully resurrected the much-maligned Mrs. Charles Dickens in Girl in a Blue Dress (2009), now Paula McLain brings Hadley Richardson Hemingway out from the formidable shadow cast by her famous husband. Though doomed, the Hemingway marriage had its giddy high points, including a whirlwind courtship and a few fast and furious years of the expatriate lifestyle in 1920s Paris. Hadley and Ernest traveled in heady company during this gin-soaked and jazz-infused time, and readers are treated to intimate glimpses of many of the literary giants of the era, including Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. But the real star of the story is Hadley, as this time around, Ernest is firmly relegated to the background as he almost never was during their years together. Though eventually a woman scorned, Hadley is able to acknowledge without rancor or bitterness that "Hem" had "helped me to see what I really was and what I could do." Much more than a "woman-behind-the-man" homage, this beautifully crafted tale is an unsentimental tribute to a woman who acted with grace and strength as her marriage crumbled. amazon com
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345521307, Hardcover)

Author Paula McLain on The Paris Wife
Most of us know or think we know who Ernest Hemingway was -- a brilliant writer full of macho swagger, driven to take on huge feats of bravery and a pitcher or two of martinis -- before lunch. But beneath this man or myth, or some combination of the two, is another Hemingway, one we’ve never seen before. Hadley Richardson, Hemingway’s first wife, is the perfect person to reveal him to us -- and also to immerse us in the incredibly exciting and volatile world of Jazz-age Paris.

The idea to write in Hadley’s voice came to me as I was reading Hemingway’s memoir, A Moveable Feast, about his early years in Paris. In the final pages, he writes of Hadley, “I wished I had died before I ever loved anyone but her.” That line, and his portrayal of their marriage -- so tender and poignant and steeped in regret -- inspired me to search out biographies of Hadley, and then to research their brief and intense courtship and letters -- they wrote hundreds and hundreds of pages of delicious pages to another!

I couldn’t help but fall in love with Hadley, and through her eyes, with the young Ernest Hemingway. He was just twenty when they met, handsome and magnetic, passionate and sensitive and full of dreams. I was surprised at how much I liked and admired him -- and before I knew it, I was entirely swept away by their gripping love story.

I hope you will be as captivated by this remarkable couple as I am -- and by the fascinating world of Paris in the 20’s, the fast-living, ardent and tremendously driven Lost Generation.

A Look Inside The Paris Wife

Ernest and Hadley Hemingway, Chamby, Switzerland, winter 1922
Ernest and Hadley Hemingway on their wedding day, 1921
Ernest, Hadley, and Bumby, Schruns, Austria, 1925

The Hemingways and friends at a cafe in Pamplona, Spain
Guest Reviewer: Helen Simonson on The Paris Wife

Helen Simonson is the New York Times bestselling author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. She was born in England and spent her teenage years in a small village in East Sussex. A graduate of the London School of Economics and former travel advertising executive, she has lived in America for the past two decades. After many years in Brooklyn, she now lives with her husband and two sons in the Washington, D.C., area.

Paula McLain has taken on the task of writing a story most of us probably think we already know--that of a doomed starter wife. To make life more difficult, McLain proposes to tell us about Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson, who is a twenty-eight-year-old Midwestern spinster when she marries the twenty-one-year-old unpublished, (but already cocksure) writer and runs off to Paris with him. The talent and joy of this novel is that McLain does a startling job of making us understand this as a great love story and seducing us into caring deeply, about both Ernest and Hadley, as their marriage eventually comes apart.

This novel moves beyond the dry bones of biography or skewed personal vision of memoir, and takes a leap into the emotional lives of these characters. It is a leap of faith for those readers who think they know Hemingway, but McLain’s voice sticks close enough to historical material, and to the words and tone of Hemingway’s own writing, to be convincing. She had me at the description of young Hadley’s father committing suicide.

“The carpets had been cleaned but not changed out for new, the revolver had been emptied and polished and placed back in his desk.”

Hadley is also crippled by a childhood fall and trapped into spinsterhood by her mother’s declining health and eventual death. By the time she meets Hemingway, we are rooting for her to make a break for foreign shores--even as we understand the danger of marrying a tempestuous man. Hemingway is all nervous purpose, ambition and charisma as he meets Hadley and is drawn to her quiet strength and ordinary American sweetness. In his youth and uncertainty, she is his rock and yet we already suspect that as he grows in artistic power, she will become an unwanted anchor. Through Hadley’s eyes and plain-speaking voice, we see all of twenties Paris and the larger-than-life artists who gather in the cafes. We drink tea with Gertrude Stein and champagne with Fitzgerald and Zelda. We run with the bulls in Pamplona and spend winters in alpine chalets. And we see, through her love for him, the young writer becoming the Hemingway of legend. Perhaps it is the nature of all great artists to be completely selfish and obnoxious, but Hadley’s voice is always one of compassion. Even as Hemingway leaves her completely out of The Sun also Rises, even as Hemingway publicly flirts with other women, she continues to explain and defend him. It is a testament to Paula McLain that the reader is slow to dislike Hemingway, even as he slowly and inexorably betrays Hadley’s trust.

I loved this novel for its depiction of two passionate, yet humanly-flawed people struggling against impossible odds--poverty, artistic fervor, destructive friendships--to cling on to each other. I raise a toast to Paula McLain’s sure talent.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:20 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Meeting through mutual friends in Chicago, Hadley is intrigued by brash "beautiful boy" Ernest Hemingway, and after a brief courtship and small wedding, they take off for Paris, where Hadley makes a convincing transformation from an overprotected child to a game and brave young woman who puts up with impoverished living conditions and shattering loneliness to prop up her husband's career.… (more)

» see all 8 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
59 avail.
417 wanted
9 pay16 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.7)
0.5 1
1 18
1.5 3
2 80
2.5 31
3 307
3.5 122
4 550
4.5 59
5 203


5 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alumn

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain was made available through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. Sign up to possibly get pre-publication copies of books.

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 113,890,508 books! | Top bar: Always visible