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The Paris Wife Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Feb. 22 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 2,590 ratings

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Hardcover, Deckle Edge, Feb. 22 2011
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Review

“McLain creates a compelling, spellbinding portrait of a marriage. . . . Women of all ages and situations will sympathize as they follow this seemingly charmed union to its inevitable demise. 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.”
Library Journal
 
“McLain offers a vivid addition to the complex-woman-behind-the-legendary-man genre, bringing Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson, to life . . . McLain ably portrays the cultural icons of the 1920s—Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, and Ezra and Dorothy Pound—and the impact they have on the then unknown Hemingway, casting Hadley as a rock of Gibraltar for a troubled man whose brilliance and talent were charged and compromised by his astounding capacity for alcohol and women . . . The heart of the story—Ernest and Hadley's relationship—gets an honest reckoning, most notably the waves of elation and despair that pull them apart.”
Publishers Weekly

"McLain smartly explores Hadley's ambivalence about her role as supportive wife to a budding genius. . . . Women and book groups are going to eat up this novel."
— USA Today
 
"A beautiful portrait of being in Paris in the glittering 1920s. . . . McLain's vivid, clear-voiced novel is a conjecture, an act of imaginary autobiography on the part of the author. Yet her biographical and geographical research is so deep, and her empathy for the real Hadley Richardson so forthright (without being intrusively femme partisan), that the account reads as very real indeed."
— Entertainment Weekly
 
“ . . . Paula McLain brings Hadley Richardson Hemingway out from the formidable shadow cast by her famous husband. 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.”
Booklist
 
“Told in the voice of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain, is a richly imagined portrait of bohemian 1920s Paris, and of American literature’s original bad boy.”
Town and Country
 
“The closing pages, in particular, are both evocative and moving, taking in the sweep of events over a third of a century and providing a resolution that, if not neat, is wholly in character. A pleasure to read—and a pleasure to see Hadley Richardson presented in a sympathetic light.”
Kirkus
 
“It’s hard to imagine that the world needs another book about Hemingway in the City of Light. (Really, the lost valise again?) Yet here comes Paula McLain’s marvelous new novel, The Paris Wife, which explores those absinthe-soaked days through the eyes of Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson . . . it is precisely Hadley’s steady moral compass and devotion to her rising-star husband that provides the novel with its heart and, ultimately, its heartbreak . . .”
Marie Claire
 
“Some of us think that a light romance novel or a plot-driven thriller is just what we need for that long lazy summer afternoon, while other’s look for something with more depth and substance.  Finding the perfect balance in one book seems almost impossible, but if you’re looking for a poignant romance that offers both substance and sustenance, I have a book for you. . .”
The Boston Globe

“[Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Richardson’s] story is a delightful and tense journey from the highs of love, dependency and ascendancy to a gradual decline of those same qualities and ideals . . . The Paris Wife is a lyrical novel that is beautifully written on every single page. Paula McLain is as talented as the writer and his wife depicted herein. Stunning!”
Historical Novels Review

“The novel is marvelous.”
Edmonton Journal
 
“. . . Compelling . . .”
Toronto Sun

"The Paris Wife is mesmerizing. Hadley Hemingway's voice, lean and lyrical, kept me in my seat, unable to take my eyes and ears away from these young lovers. Paula McLain is a first-rate writer who creates a world you don't want to leave. I loved this book."
— Nancy Horan, bestselling author of Loving Frank

About the Author

PAULA MCLAIN was born in Fresno, CA in 1965. After being abandoned by both parents, she and her two sisters became wards of the California Court System, moving in and out of foster homes for the next 14 years. Eventually, she discovered she could — and wanted to — write. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan in 1996, and since then has been a resident at Yaddo and the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is the author of two collections of poetry, a much-praised memoir called Like Family (Little Brown, 2003), and one previous and well-received novel, A Ticket to Ride. Paula McLain lives in Cleveland, OH with her family.

Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
2,590 customer ratings
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Top international reviews

Marguerite
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, but such unlikeable protagonists it reaffirmed my resolution not to read any more Hemingway
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 6, 2017
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Sue Almond
3.0 out of 5 stars The First Mrs Hemingway's story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 7, 2017
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Shelley Day
5.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to give it six stars!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 24, 2016
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little bookworm
4.0 out of 5 stars Evocative and insightful
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 13, 2014
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DubaiReader
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous view of 20's Paris
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 26, 2012
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Cheshire Tiger
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite Something
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 7, 2013
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Mrs J Gernon
5.0 out of 5 stars Can you love too much?
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 13, 2018
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WillerbyMum
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 5, 2015
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Titania78
3.0 out of 5 stars A new take on Ernest Hemingway
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 28, 2012
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Helena Halme Author
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, atmospheric novel
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 17, 2012
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Justine Solomons
4.0 out of 5 stars The things we do for love
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 25, 2012
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wiltshirelass
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply Moving
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 30, 2013
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H. M. Sykes
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book, so true to life, unputdownable!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 8, 2013
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SBs
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging tale set in the 1920's
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 27, 2014
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Grace Noted
5.0 out of 5 stars The Paris Wife
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 20, 2012
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