Author: Paula McLain Publication Date: 2011 Number of Pages: 318
Geographical Setting/Time Period: 1920-25, the jazz age in Paris
Hadley Hemingway - the first wife of Ernest Hemingway. She is deeply in love with Ernest, supportive of his vision to be a great writer. but dependent on him to give her life purpose.
Ernest Hemingway - a charming, moody, selfish young man. He is driven by demons to write. His community of friends allow a patron supported lifestyle that seems unrealistic by today's standards.
Plot Summary: Friends of friends, two young people meet in Chicago and fall in love. They marry and move to Paris, pursuing the young man's dream to become a writer. The young woman, a musician of some talent, allows her skill to remain only a peripheral part her life, choosing to support her husband in his efforts. Their circle of friends supports a lifestyle that seems unrealistic by today's standards. The young man is a philanderer and eventually is forced to choose fidelity or divorce
Appeal: Character driven, the tone of the book is romantic. Based on historical fact, there is an inevitability to the narrative. There is a small sense of world-building as the culture of the Paris group in the 1920s is hinted at.
Brief quote: "I closed my eyes and let meyself fall, barreling down over the hard bumps. I'd had so much to drink I couldn't feel a thing -- nothing but a thrilling sense of wildness and freedom. It was a kind of euphoria, really, and fear was a key part of it." (p. 21)
Prizes or Awards: Starred reviews in Kirkus and Library Journal
Similar Works: Loving Frank by Nancy Horan,
Reviewer’s Name: Nancy Rimassa
Adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Reader’ Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd. Chicago: ALA, 1997.