I recently finished reading the book The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, and I had to post about it. I had had the book sitting on my bookshelf for probably about 2 years, and had yet to crack the spine because, quite frankly, I had other more interesting seeming books to read in the mean time. However, I recently undertook a project where I read all of the left over books on my bookshelf based on their jacket color (i.e. I'm reading all of the red books right now) because I'm working on color coding my bookshelves. I know, super OCD and vaguely bizarre. But it's ok because it got me to finally read The Paris Wife, and I'm so glad that I did.
The book tells the story of Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley, and the extent of their relationship. It begins in Chicago in the 1920s, with a shy and insecure Hadley who meets the dashing war hero Ernest at a party while staying with a friend. Ernest pursues her, and they begin exchanging letters after she returns home to St. Louis. Not long after, the two have gotten married and are on their way to live in Paris so Ernest can pursue his writing. The lively scene of Paris in the 1920s is worth the read alone, but the adorable story of two people in love, barely making ends meet but loving every minute of their adventure regardless, is touching and romantic. That's how the story goes for the next hundred or so pages, and the two remain very much in love through a baby, a move to Canada and then back to Paris, lost manuscripts and more.
Spoiler alert: the story takes a sad turn at the end. I mean, it is about Ernest Hemingway's first wife, so obviously their relationship ends at some point. That ending is described in the last bit of the novel, and although it is incredibly hard to read at parts, it's also incredibly relatable to any of us (myself included) who have experienced some sort of heart break. In that light, it's also incredibly optimistic, as even after Hadley has her heart broken in a million pieces by Ernest, she picks herself up, takes care of her son, and finds love again. It really does give the sense of hope in love and the promise of life; that whenever one door closes, another opens.
So, I would definitely recommend picking up The Paris Wife the next time you're in need of a new read. Even though you might tear up a little at various parts, the end will leave you feeling pretty good about life.
Until next time,