A hot and steamy month deserves a hot and steamy book. If you only read one book in July, read “The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain.
This is the story of the handsome, hard living Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson, the woman who loved him before he got famous. Set mostly in the 1920’s in Paris this is a name dropping, boozy novel filled with the romantic twists and turns that took place during their 5 year charmed yet tattered marriage.
McLain researches their relationship by examining their old letters and pieces together their story in a way that almost from the first page you know this couple is doomed.
Hadley is a 28 year old “spinster” who has had to care for her ailing mother and Ernest is the 21 year old handsome, young aspriring writer. Hadley, a generous lover and supporter of his work almost from the start sacrifices all of her personal ambitions for his. Ouch. This isn’t going to end well is it?
Enter the future mistress and second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer who endears herself to Hadley and becomes a permanent fixture in their home. The three of them are the picture of dysfunction and once again it becomes painfully clear to the reader that this will not end well. In one scene, McLain describes a trip they took where the three of them share a hotel suite for a prolonged period of time. Can you say creepy?
Ernest went on to divorce Pauline and then two marry and divorce two more women. An amazing writer with a legendary career, his persoal life was a mess. He committed suicide in his early 60’s.
For those of you that want a happy ending, he famously called Hadley the love of his life and dedicated his book: “The Sun Also Rises” to her.