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Mrs. Hemingway: A Novel Paperback – May 27, 2014
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In their own ways and in their own times, Hadley, Pauline, Martha, and Mary all loved Ernest Hemingway. All experienced the passionate days of early courtship, the midsummer lethargy, the chipped-ice daiquiris that became acceptable earlier and earlier in the day. They all knew the sting of betrayal as his notoriously wandering eye eventually turned to another woman, and they all knew the safety of his embrace. They knew how to weather the tides of his creativity, how to support and nourish and heal and mend. While Hemingway’s stories are known worldwide, Wood used copious love letters, diaries, and telegrams to flesh out the stories that these women might have told. Flitting from bohemian 1920s Paris to sunny Havana, from Paris in the days of WWII to 1960s America, Mrs. Hemingway spans eras. Wood’s research gives this passionate story a firm foundation, and readers who enjoyed Loving Frank (2007) and The Paris Wife (2011) will adore this ideal summer read. Seamlessly blending known facts with fiction, Mrs. Hemingway is an absorbing, tender glimpse inside the lives of those in Hemingway’s inner circle. --Stephanie Turza
Praise for Mrs. Hemingway
***A Harper’s Bazaar (UK) Best Book of 2014***
***A Stylist Magazine (UK) Best Book of 2014***
***A Richard & Judy (UK) Pick in 2015***
“Magnetic… assembles a satisfying puzzle of personalities, bringing each relationship’s beginning, end and overlap into vivid focus.”
—Leisl Schillinger, The New York Times Book Review
“[A] compelling fictionalization of Ernest Hemingway’s four marriages. . . . We see [the women] interacting, often even liking each other -- but the frustrations and heartbreaks are just as present, giving ‘Mrs. Hemingway’ a frisson of constant conflict . . . It’s a heady time, and Wood nails it.”
— The Boston Globe
“Puts imaginative flesh on the bones of what we know about [Hemingway]. . . . [and] suggests that he was not as brutish as he is sometimes portrayed.” — USA Today
“So beautifully written and evocative that I could not put it down.”
—Jojo Moyes, New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You
“Finally, all four women who married the Great American Novelist get to tell their sides of the story.”
— Good Housekeeping
“Wood has given us a fascinating, astutely observed, gorgeously written account of the Hemingway wives and their charismatic, enigmatic, troubled and troublesome husband. This is a gem of a book.”
—Therese Anne Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
“Naomi Wood’s absorbing, illuminating novel offers fascinating portraits of four extraordinary women and the tortured literary genius who loved them. If you thought you knew all there was to know about Ernest Hemingway’s wives, their passions, and their heartbreak, think again.”
—Jennifer Chiaverini, New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker and Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival
“With remarkable insight and boldness, Naomi Wood brilliantly takes on one of history’s most remembered writers and the women who loved him. Obsessively readable, fascinating, and heartbreaking, Mrs. Hemingway captures a time and people in a style the legend himself would no doubt admire.”
—Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Hemingway’s Girl
“Forget everything you thought you knew about Ernest Hemingway’s four wives. In a quartet of searing interlocked portraits, Naomi Wood brings vividly to life the real women who loved and lost the legendary charmer and great writer. Mrs. Hemingway is a luminous heartbreaking novel. Wood is a writer to watch.”
—Ellen Feldman, Orange Prize-shortlisted author of Lucy
“A detailed and deeply affecting account of the complex relationship between love and work.”
—Ian Sansom, author of The Case of the Missing Books
“It's superb, everything about it - the sentences, details, dialogue, but also the architecture, the way it's built. It flirts with all that’s already known, but the women feel real and fresh, and through their eyes so does Hemingway.”
—Andrew Cowan, author of Pig
“Luminous, intoxicating…A passionate novel based on real lives, full of betrayals and moments of heartbreaking intimacy as Wood gives four remarkable women star billing.”
—Marie Claire (UK)
"Readers who enjoyed Loving Frank and The Paris Wife will adore this ideal summer read. Seamlessly blending known facts with fiction, Mrs. Heminway is an absorbing, tender glimpse inside the lives of those in Hemingway's inner circle."
“Well researched . . . interesting . . . [and] cleverly done.”
—Literary Review (UK)
“Exquisitely written, the Mrs. Hemingways finally have their say in this beautiful novel.”
—Stylist Magazine (UK)
“A beautiful read and an amazing insight into the life of the man . . . superb.”
“Very occasionally, a piece of fiction based on facts is so good that I catch myself thinking: ‘Oh, so that’s how it really was.’ Wood achieves this in this breathtakingly good look at the lives of Ernest Hemingway’s four wives . . . . Sublime.”
—The Bookseller (UK)
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Top Customer Reviews
As some reviewers have mentioned, I thought the titles of each section within a section were confusing. Surely there was a better way to show the flashbacks, etc.
I appreciated Ms. Woods Afterword and Acknowledgments, but didn't care for the question and answer part or the questions for a book club. She obviously did a ton of research. A good read if you're interested in Papa and his harem, uh wives. Poor man! Poor women!
Some reviewers feel the scope of this book is far too narrow, since we learn only as much about the women as their connection to Hemingway, but that didn't interfere with my enjoyment of the story. I also found the factual to be woven seamlessly within the theoretical and fictional that I found myself tempted to believe ALL of it.
It's been a few weeks since I finished reading this novel, yet I'm still very curious about a few points in MRS. HEMINGWAY. So much so that I wish I could have a chat with the author. I'd want to know which parts are true, which might be but can't be proven, and which are fabricated. I don't share or see having questions about a book I've read as a negative. In fact, the highest praise I feel an author can receive is when a reader says how s/he didn't want it to end and that s/he was left wanting more. Because of this novel, I want to research further about Hemingway's work, his life, and that of his wives and contemporaries. If you love history, women's fiction, beautiful language, and complex, introspective, and emotional reads, I'd highly recommend Mrs. Hemingway.
Why not 5 Stars?? The jumping back-and-forth in time within each section (separated chronologically by wives) was irksome here and there, (but it was especially useful in the fourth section. In spite of that jumping around in time, I still very much enjoyed this novel. I'm a huge fan of history in general, and find Hemingway's professional/personal life endlessly fascinating. (I can't say I'm a fan of his, but I do find him an intriguing figure in American Literature/history.) At times repugnant, others endearing, I found Hemingway's depiction in this book to be well-balanced overall. I also felt so much more understanding and empathy for each of the wives than I've had after other historical/fictional accounts.