Author Paula McLain carefully captures the era, the lives and the emotions of Hadley, Earnest and the others. Popping up in the book are glimpses of Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein along with the wealthy, the glamorous, the beautiful and other now famous people of the Jazz Age in Paris. Words like ‘swimmingly’ and getting ‘tight’ from drinking too much were fun little tickles that helped to perfectly set the scene and keep me in that time period of the Roaring 20’s.
Eventually Pauline, who would become Hemmingway’s 2nd wife, enters the picture and Hadley realizes she’s losing her man. I was particularly struck by the sad and bitter recognition that Hadley came to experience when she realized that she no longer felt special – that she could not be the cheerleader or critic of Hemmingway’s work like the new Pauline could or that after 5 years of marriage, she could no longer feel ‘new’.
I liked not only how the story taught me about Hadley, Earnest, Pauline and the Paris scene but it also made me reflect back on my own relationships and how a ‘new’ person can threaten harmony at home. It’s a great study of a famous American writer and his courageous wife.
Two Thumbs Up from me!