I don’t know what it is about the 1920’s that holds so much allure for me. The jazz age intrigues me and the writers who lived in Paris during those years have always interested me. The Paris Wife is a book that I’ve wanted to read for a long time. I bought it, lent it out while I was reading Death on the Nile, then began another book until I got The Paris Wife back, and then read a few more before pulling it off the shelf. All the while, it sat waiting patiently for me. I just knew I would love it.
I knew a little of what to expect going into the book. Hemingway did have four wives, after all, and Hadley was just the first. But it was the very last line on the back of the book that kept me so insanely interested and heartbroken at the same time. It tugged at my soul and left me sad each time I put it away for the night.
“The Paris wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.”
By the end, I was angry at Ernest and sad for them both. It completely moved me. Paula McLain captured the atmosphere and sadness surrounding the end of their relationship so well that I was heartbroken reading the book. When I finished it, I closed it, tossed it in bed next to me and just laid there crying, completely overcome by my emotions because I cannot comprehend how their relationship fell apart, how he let it fall apart, and chose to leave. I know things like this happen every day. But for whatever reason, the breakup between Hadley and Ernest is just too much for me. I’m committed to the belief that for him, it was ways her.
I was sad reading it, but sadness is such a true and pure emotion for me, that I would recommend this book to anyone. If we’re friends on Goodreads, you’ll notice I gave this book five stars. I loved it. If a book can make me feel this strongly for a character, it’s worth a read, in my opinion. Tread lightly, dear readers, because heartstrings will be pulled and tears will fall, but it’s worth it.