Series & Sequels
Have you already read The Paris Wife? If you haven't you should. It's sooo good! I loved this synopsis by Margaret Flanagan:
"History is sadly neglectful of the supporting players in the lives of great artists. Fortunately, fiction provides ample opportunity to bring these often fascinating personalities out into the limelight. Gaynor Arnold successfully resurrected the much-maligned Mrs. Charles Dickens in Girl in a Blue Dress (2009), now Paula McLain brings Hadley Richardson Hemingway out from the formidable shadow cast by her famous husband. Though doomed, the Hemingway marriage had its giddy high points, including a whirlwind courtship and a few fast and furious years of the expatriate lifestyle in 1920s Paris. Hadley and Ernest traveled in heady company during this gin-soaked and jazz-infused time, and readers are treated to intimate glimpses of many of the literary giants of the era, including Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. But the real star of the story is Hadley, as this time around, Ernest is firmly relegated to the background as he almost never was during their years together. Though eventually a woman scorned, Hadley is able to acknowledge without rancor or bitterness that "Hem had helped me to see what I really was and what I could do." Much more than a woman-behind-the-man homage, this beautifully crafted tale is an unsentimental tribute to a woman who acted with grace and strength as her marriage crumbled."
I found myself completely
obsessed fascinated by the characters that Hemingway and Hadley hob-nobbed with while in Paris. I spent waaay too much time on Google looking them all up (and adding more books to my to read list)! I know the story isn't completely factual BUT I still was drawn in; I just had to read this next:
A Movable Feast. I'm so glad I read The Paris Wife first - it seemed to fill in the gaps or embellish what Hemingway himself said (which made A Movable Feast more enjoyable to me). I also found myself saying things like "oh! I remember them!" or "ohhh. So that's what really happened." This was the perfect sequel to The Paris Wife. Here's what they have to say on Amazon:
"In the preface to A Moveable Feast, Hemingway remarks casually that "if the reader prefers, this book may be regarded as fiction"--and, indeed, fact or fiction, it doesn't matter, for his slim memoir of Paris in the 1920s is as enchanting as anything made up and has become the stuff of legend. Paris in the '20s! Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley, lived happily on $5 a day and still had money for drinks at the Closerie des Lilas, skiing in the Alps, and fishing trips to Spain. On every corner and at every café table, there were the most extraordinary people living wonderful lives and telling fantastic stories. Gertrude Stein invited Hemingway to come every afternoon and sip "fragrant, colorless alcohols" and chat admid her great pictures. He taught Ezra Pound how to box, gossiped with James Joyce, caroused with the fatally insecure Scott Fitzgerald (the acid portraits of him and his wife, Zelda, are notorious). Meanwhile, Hemingway invented a new way of writing based on this simple premise: "All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know."Hemingway beautifully captures the fragile magic of a special time and place, and he manages to be nostalgic without hitting any false notes of sentimentality. "This is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy," he concludes. Originally published in 1964, three years after his suicide, A Moveable Feast was the first of his posthumous books and remains the best."
Oh such a sweet book! Joy In The Morning would be a great Valentine read. It's full of sweet, tender, young love. Apparently there is a movie out there but I have not been able to track it down. I'd love to see it. Here's what Amazon has to say:
"In 1927, in Brooklyn, New York, Carl Brown and Annie McGairy meet and fall in love. Though only eighteen, Annie travels alone halfway across the country to the Midwestern university where Carl is studying law—and there they marry. But their first year together is much more difficult than they anticipated, in a faraway place with little money and few friends. With hardship and poverty weighing heavily upon them, Annie and Carl come to realize that their greatest sources of strength, loyalty and love, will help them make it through."
It was so refreshing to read of their innocent love for one another. Their relationship was so pure and true you couldn't help but root for them to make it. Definitely a warm and fuzzy read for February.
When a friend lent me Expecting Adam and insisted I read it because it was one of her all time favorites I wasn't so sure. It lingered on my shelf for a few months. Then guilt set in. I better read it and get it back to her. Boy was I surprised - by many things. Here's a quick review from Amazon:
"John and Martha Beck had two Harvard degrees apiece when they conceived their second child. Further graduate studies, budding careers, and a growing family meant major stress--not that they'd have admitted it to anyone (or themselves). As the pregnancy progressed, Martha battled constant nausea and dehydration. And when she learned her unborn son had Down syndrome, she battled nearly everyone over her decision to continue the pregnancy. She still cannot explain many of the things that happened to her while she was expecting Adam, but by the time he was born, Martha, as she puts it, "had to unlearn virtually everything Harvard taught [her] about what is precious and what is garbage."
Well. If that doesn't get your attention ... I was more shocked by the Harvard 'culture' than I was by some of the 'experiences' (you have to read the book to know what I mean) that John and Martha had while she was pregnant with Adam. I had goosebumps many a time. I would say this book was worth your time. It's not the lightest read but it certainly will warm your heart; or maybe I should say Adam will warm your heart.
I hope you have read some good books lately! Even if you didn't read a book that was part of a series or sequel you can join in: