Book Review: Mrs Hemingway by Naomi Wood

Mrs HemingwayWhat’s it about?

In the dazzling summer of 1926, Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley travel from their home in Paris to a villa in the south of France. They swim, play bridge, and drink gin. But wherever they go they are accompanied by the glamorous and irrepressible Fife. Fife is Hadley’s best friend. She is also Ernest’s lover.

Hadley is the first Mrs. Hemingway, but neither she nor Fife will be the last. Over the ensuing decades, Ernest’s literary career will blaze a trail, but his marriages will be ignited by passion and deceit. Four extraordinary women will learn what it means to love the most famous writer of his generation, and each will be forced to ask herself how far she will go to remain his wife . . .

My thoughts

“…it seemed he was a man who couldn’t bear being alone”

and therein lies the problem and the crux of this novel. The novel is about the 4 wives of Ernest Hemingway; Hadley, Fife, Martha and Mary with each wife being given their own part. Not only is it the story of the wives, but also the mistresses! Ultimately the mistresses become the wives and all of them thinking they can change Ernest but in the end they all end up the same way – replaced in some way.

Although not a biography, it is a fictional novel of Ernest through the eyes of his wives. The mixture between fact and fiction is a well placed blend although it portrays Ernest as a selfish woman chaser with his constant affairs, his lifestyle, the drinking and what seems to lead to depression. And, it also doesn’t portray wives 2-4 that well either, considering they allowed themselves to be chased and ultimately caused the divorces of the previous marriage.

Overall a well written, interesting book and I loved the era in which it is set and the vintage cover but I constantly felt I was waiting for something to happen, I felt it was quite slow paced. Probably one to read if you’re interested in Hemingway or enjoy biography type books.

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