The Paris Wife: A Novel

If You Liked The Paris Wife, Try These

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This novel focuses on the life of Zelda: dancer, writer, and famous flapper who married Scott Fitzgerald. The Fitzgeralds were considered the couple of the twenties.  Zelda and Scott spent time in Paris in the same social circle as Hemingway and his wife where the hard-drinking and romances took a toll on both marriages. If you've read about Zelda in Scott's or her own writing, this fascinating, multi-talented person will intrigue you.

Hart, Lenore - The Raven's Bride

If you love Edgar Allen Poe's famous poem "Annabel Lee", this novel about Poe's doomed wife and first cousin, Virginia, will interest you.  The Poes married when Virginia was thirteen and E.A. was twenty-seven; her mother signed a document that she was of age. Like Hemingway, Poe was a big drinker, and Virginia had to put up with drunkenness and poverty.  Another story of a literary marriage where the wife was both muse and care-giver.

Hemingway, Ernest  - The Sun Also Rises 

This is often considered the most famous novel of the "Lost Generation", that crowd of artists, musicians, and writers who left the U.S. during the 20s to live an expat lifestyle in Paris and other cities. Jake Barnes, a jaded WWI vet, travelled from the bars of Paris to Spain for the spring bullfights. Hemingway describes the expatriate lifestyle amid the violence, camaraderie, and life and death risk for bulls and men.

Horan, Nancy - Loving Frank: a Novel

Instead of married couples, this historical novel focuses on an unmarried pair of lovers, Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney, who scandalized Chicago when they deserted their respective spouses (and children) for each other. Blending fact and fiction, Horan shows how the famous architect was inspired by his mistress and how they created a home together despite society's hostility toward them.

Robuck, Erika -- Hemingway's Girl

MarImageiella Bennet loves the sea and dreams of starting a charter boat business with her dad. But after her father is suddenly murdered in Key West, Florida during the Great Depression, Ernest Hemingway enters her life. Their lives become interconnected in surprising ways. A massive hurricane heads toward Key West and Marielle must quickly choose her life path.

 

Taylor, Kendall - Sometimes Madness is Wisdom: Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald

This joint biography examines the lives and marriage of this beautiful couple - both were blonde, gifted, beautiful and selfish. They were friends of the Hemingways and their Paris years were also volatile. Scott did all that he could to prevent his talented wife from writing books also. Another look at two Americans in Paris during the twenties.

Vreeland, Susan - Clara and Mr. TiffanyImage

Louis Comfort Tiffany's stained glass windows were the hit of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, yet many of his designs were inspired by Clara Driscoll's work--she headed his Women's Division. She also became romantically involved with several men, including Mr. Tiffany, but his policy was not to employ married women. This novel explores their relationship and their lives as artists in New York during the Gilded Age.

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The Paris Wife

To be an American during the 1920s in Paris? What could be more trendy and romantic? Especially, if you've just married the dashing young fiction writer, Ernest Hemingway. This absorbing novel introduces you to all the famous ex-pat writers of the time period: everyone from Gertrude Stein ("a rose is a rose is a rose") to Scott Fitzgerald with the wild Zelda on his arms to Ezra Pound and John Dos Passos.

But it's not primarily a biographical novel about Papa Hemingway; it's more the story of a marriage between two smart, witty people who each possess an incredible zest for life and adventure.

While visiting friends in Chicago, Hadley Richardson meets Ernest at an apartment full of young people. He asks her to critique one of his earliest pieces. By the time she returns home to St. Louis--where she lives with a married sister--a spark has ignited. For months they write each other almost daily and within a year Hemingway asks Hadley to marry him. After a few months struggling to get by in a seedy Chicago apartment, Hemingway decides to ditch his horrible job, and they board a ship for Paris.

Writing mostly from Hadley's point of view, Paula McLain shows how hard it is to live in a great person's shadow. She is a skilled pianist but even though her mother was a staunch suffragist, Hadley is content (most of the time) to raise their son Bumby and to support her husband in his work.

Not just Paris is vividly portrayed here, but also the Riviera and Pamplona, site of the enthralling bull fights that Hemingway used to create his novel The Sun Also Rises. The family also stays for weeks in the Alps where they are skilled skiers who thrive in the winter outdoors.

The novel often portrays Hemingway himself as selfish as and more concerned with his novels than with his family. Even when the baby has whooping cough and is quarantined, it takes Papa almost two weeks to finally come and check on him. But Hadley comes across as an intelligent, searching woman: one who is willing to make some concessions but must remain true to herself. While reading the book, I wanted to find out what happened to her later. Was life kind to her after Hemingway? Because, or course, there is a post-Hemingway life in her cards.

McLain said she was inspired to write this book after reading Hemingway's A Moveable Feast. What especially called to her were the lines near the end when he said, "I wished I had died before I ever loved anyone but her." Read this fine novel about the Lost Generation in Paris.

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