The Paris Wife: A Review (Or, why I like historical fiction about famous people)

Available Now: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

*****4.5/5 stars- loved it and probably stayed up all night reading and developing real feelings for… real people? Real fictional people?  Real people portrayed fictitiously?

A journey into Hemingway’s Paris, from the perspective of his first wife, Hadley.

Recommended readers:

  • If you dream of Hemingway’s Paris and loved A Moveable Feast
  • if you love Hemingway,
  • if you hate Hemingway,
  • if you love to hate Hemingway,
  • and if you like romantic historical fiction, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4.5/5 characters
  • 4.5/5 plot
  • 4.5/5 overall


It’s done too often, you might say, too many liberties. But I like historical fiction about famous people- especially about famous people.  I think it’s fascinating to pull down those larger-than-lifes and take a good look.  I like putting words in their mouths and thoughts in their heads. I like that somehow, constructing fiction actually makes them more real, because it forces it to occur to you that they did have hidden thoughts, feelings, and words in addition to those so public and immortalized.  And I like Hemingway. I like his terse modern style.  I like his big loomy, moody presence, and that he was such a mac daddy no one woman was enough for him. Would I shack up with that myself? No way, no how.  But I will read about the ones who did, every darn time. And The Paris wife does a wonderful job of bringing his first wife to life, or at least the idea of being her.

Available Now:  The Paris Wife

And coming soon to Books for Her: Paula McLain’s Circling the Sun

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