“The Paris Wife”, by Paula McClain

Overall Rating:  4.5/5

Read it, or save your time?  A romantic story about Ernest Hemingway and his first wife (first of four mind you), set amongst the backdrop of a glittering, debaucherous, post-war Paris – what’s not to like?  Very cool book to take on vacation.

What’s it about?  It is 1920 when a young, vibrant Ernest Hemingway meets and falls madly in love with the quiet, less socially ambitious Hadley Richardson.  After a whirlwind courtship, the two marry and set sail for Paris, where they befriend the notorious ‘Fabled Four’; F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, and Gertrude Stein.

As Hemingway rises in fame yet struggles to find his literary voice and complete his next masterpiece, the couple become further entrenched in the fast-paced life of Paris’s Jazz Age which includes lots of whiskey and glamorous parties.  Over time, lies and betrayal surface and  challenge their once beautiful love relationship.

Reviewer’s Note:  Obviously the end result of the marriage is already known, but in this case, the joy of the story is in the journey.  McClain does an amazing job of bringing to life the magic of the era and although technically a work of fiction, the renowned, nuanced literary artists of the time.

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