Honestly, I wondered about the wisdom of signing up for a book review blog hop--no matter how awesomely named--taking place the last day of May. It has been a busy month, and I have gotten one step farther behind every day. But! I finished my book last night and am ready to give it a short blurb before reading the much more thoughtful and less last-minute-y reviews from the other Cephalopod Coffeehouse participants. (Find that list here.)
So, without further ado, The Paris Wife by Paula McLain is a story told in first-person by Hadley Richardson, who is better known as The First Mrs. Ernest Hemingway. She's a woman I knew nothing about, and I was captivated by how this relatively ordinary midwestern gal found herself married to an extraordinary man (Hemingway), living in an extraordinary city (1920s Paris), and befriended by an extraordinary social circle (including Gertrude Stein and the Fitzgeralds).
From Chicago to Paris to Canada to Pamplona, the down-to-earth Hadley drinks too much, goes to bullfights, has a baby, and weathers the storms of high-society and the moods of her mercurial husband. Throughout it all, her voice remains accessible and true, and the book comes across as genuine and unpretentious. Things don't end wonderfully for Hadley and Ernest, but, considering the man and the times, it could have been much worse.
So if Leo as Gatsby has you wanting more Jazz Age drama, give this book a look this summer. It's a good one for beach or poolside, though it may make you wish for a waiter in a white tuxedo to bring you a drink on a silver tray.
Thanks to Coffeehouse host The Armchair Squid for putting this hop together!