ARC: Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood

Mrs. Hemingway
Naomi Wood
Penguin Books May 27, 2014
Pages 336
ISBN13: 9780143124610
A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads • Amazon 

Recommendation: 4/5
Reviewer: Melinda

The Paris Wife was only the beginning of the story . . .

Paula McLain’s New York Times–bestselling novel piqued readers’ interest about Ernest Hemingway’s romantic life. But Hadley was only one of four women married, in turn, to the legendary writer. Just as T.C. Boyle’s bestseller The Women completed the picture begun by Nancy Horan’s Loving Frank, Naomi Wood’s Mrs. Hemingway tells the story of how it was to love, and be loved by, the most famous and dashing writer of his generation. Hadley, Pauline, Martha and Mary: each Mrs. Hemingway thought their love would last forever; each one was wrong.

Told in four parts and based on real love letters and telegrams, Mrs. Hemingway reveals the explosive love triangles that wrecked each of Hemingway’s marriages. Spanning 1920s bohemian Paris through 1960s Cold War America, populated with members of the fabled “Lost Generation,” Mrs. Hemingway is a riveting tale of passion, love, and heartbreak.
~Goodreads page summary~

A captivating story but painful and frustrating to read. Clearly Hemingway was a man dealing with numerous issues, loving him could not have been easy (apparent from his many relationships). Ladies were attracted to him and he seemed to bask in the attention wanted or unwanted. The part I found difficult to swallow was the fact these women surrendered their self respect and dignity in the name of love. I understand how love forces one to do ‘crazy’ things and often act in desperation but truly these women lost themselves in the name of love to a man unappreciative.

Wood creates an extremely intimate portrait when the dotted line is questionable between fact or fiction. This book is a riveting read and the scenarios are set up to where the reader feels part of the affection.

The concept of hearing the voices of the four women that loved this complex, confused and demanding man is discouraging and pleasing, saddening and inspiriting.

I approached this book as a mere observer otherwise I wanted to throttle these women and shake sense into them. Emotional driving force of the four women but equally baffling in a negative way. Hemingway was a self absorbed man, honest but set on having things on his terms, not easy for those captivated by this brilliant literary powerhouse.

“She curls an arm around his neck and lifts herself to kiss him. ‘I love you,’ she says forcefully. Yes, she would do anything to save this: even invite her husband’s mistress on holiday with them.”

“Something in her collapses; dignity perhaps. ‘Please done leave me,’ she says, though it breaks her heart to have to beg him like this. But she adores him. She has never loves a man more than this man. She never will again. ‘Leave Martha. Stay with me.'”

“She wants her own happiness too much to squander it for him. Let Mary deal with it if that’s what she wants. And the next woman after her.”

“Then one night over a silly fight about something or the other Ernest hit her. Hard across the jaw. She held her cheek with stunned silence: how could he have done this, she wondered, after the marvelous few weeks here? She went into her room to think over what she was doing with a man as volatile as this.”

Undeniable fans of the intrigue and mystique of the tempting Ernest Hemingway will enjoy this provocative and pragmatic novel.


“Sometimes I look back and I can’t work out how it’s done. How it fell apart. You think who it was to blame, and how much to blame they were. We were all to blame. I understand that. But me more than others.”




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