"All that was left for me was a terrible kind of paralysis, this waiting game, this heartbreak game."
There is something magnetic about the unfettered machismo of Hemingway's writing, it smells of sweat and blood and lust and pure masculinity, in a way I find utterly compelling. Not in a million years, however, could I imagine myself married to a man like Ernest Hemingway. Paula McLain has done a fantastic job of creating this historical fiction, imagining what life might have been like for Hadley Richardson, Hemingway's first wife.
A traumatic childhood is left behind as young Hadley falls head over heels for the exciting artist. She soon learns that the demands of a child and everyday life do not sit well with a man who seeks constant adventures for inspiration and who puts his desire to achieve literary success above and beyond all else.
Ultimately this is a tragic love story where the ending will be known already to most readers. It is not the most amazingly written book, however there are moments that might have you reaching for the Kleenex. Certainly I'd say reading one of Hemingway's works is by far the superior experience, however, sitting by the fire on a cold winter's day, this was just the ticket for a relaxing, easy read.
The novel has certainly made me eager to read Paris Without End : The True Story of Hemingway's First Wife by Gioia Diliberto for a non-fiction perspective. 5 out of 5 - I blame Woody Allen and Midnight in Paris for my current obsession with this particular time in history and its spellbinding characters.