Hadley Richardson was the wife of Ernest Hemingway from 1921 to 1927. The novel is a fictional account of their life in Paris where they mingled with a group of other American writers including Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The society surrounding them is hectic, hard-drinking and unapologetically bohemian and Hadley struggles to maintain her rock-solid support of Ernest and his ambitions.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
McLain has captured the spirit of 1920s Paris with the glamorous parties, and trips to the Alps, Germany and Spain. We were frustrated by Hadley’s blind devotion to Ernest, although horrified when she loses the suitcase of manuscripts. We were intrigued that the Hemingways managed to pay a maid despite their poverty, as well as afford the cocktails which seemed to start right after breakfast. Many of us had read some of Hemingway’s work, although none of us are fans of his style. It was interesting to hear about how he worked so hard to make his text spare and stark – cutting out all the extraneous detail which most of us enjoy reading!