The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

I’m not sure I have enough words to adequately express how much this book moved me. Usually, a book that feels slow to start and has slightly confusing chapters doesn’t affect me this much, but The Paris Wife slowly tore me to pieces with its heart and pain, and at the very end, I was reading through tears.

The Paris Wife tells the story of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley, and the beginnings of his career. No one seems especially thrilled at the start of their relationship, but they were in love. It was easy to see, even through the very end. And I think that’s why it hurt so much at the end. It wasn’t hatred that I felt, reading those last chapters. It was Hadley’s love; so much love that she knew she had to let it go, or it would destroy them more than it had already.

It’s easy to see the Ernest Hadley fell in love with. But as he gained success, he began to lose himself to his work, and in turn, losing his wife and family. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to read, because as much as you want it to turn out, you know it doesn’t. Each little piece of love and adoration I read was like another tiny needle poking me; simply because I knew their happiness wouldn’t last forever.

The novel does start of a little slow, and some of the vacation chapters where lots of people are mentioned got a little confusing, but all of that pales in comparison to how fantastic the rest of the novel is. It will make you feel, it will hurt, and the ending breaks your heart, but it is such a fantastic, amazing, wonderful, splendid novel that you can’t help but keep reading. This has easily become a must read book, and one of the best books I’ve ever read.

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