Recap: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

I’m not a huge fan of surprises.

I’m a very Type A human. 

I find joy in things like buying a new planner in August every year and organizing my 96 pack of crayons in rainbow order.

Basically, I like to know what’s up and be in control of situations I am placed in. So, for me to put my faith in a minuscule summary written on the back of a book is A BIG DEAL. It is a huge task to summarize the entirety of a 300+ page novel in one paragraph but I trust that the editors over at Random House know what they’re doing. 

And that itty-bitty paragraph is the reason that I picked up my most recent venture.

This evening, I finished my journey with Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife. I’m not going to lie, it took me a while to become completely immersed in this novel. Between my recent internship and catching enough Z’s at night, I did not find enough time to connect with this book until recently.

And despite my hatred of surprises,

 I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised. 

This book is a fictionalized account of Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage to Hadley Richardson. It touches on the difficulties of maintaining a marriage in Jazz Age Paris, where monogamy and honesty were not always the standard.

The only word that I can think of to describe McLain’s prose is raw.  This book may be historical fiction but absolutely nothing about the characters’ emotions seems fictional. The ability to identify with a book’s characters is what captivates audiences and everything about Hadley’s journey is real.

It’s real and it’s raw. 

For that, I applaud Paula McLain. Her novel has left me more accepting of good surprises. 

* * *

So, what’s next?

I just found out today that JoJo Moyes’ novel Me Before You is being made into a movie…so exciting!  I absolutely loved the element of the unexpected present in Moyes’ book (yet, another author who has made surprises a bit more bearable). 

Because of this, I’m feeling inspired to start the sequel to Me Before You, entitled After You. I’m excited to take a little break from historical fiction and read something set in present day. This should be good.

Up next: After You by JoJo Moyes. 


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