He wasn't exactly King Henry VIII of England, but Ernest Hemingway had many wives. The famous writer had four very different wives who were connected throughout their lives because of their love for this fascinating yet difficult man. Each woman had a different experience with Ernest Hemingway and it shaped their lives forever. In "Mrs. Hemingway" by Naomi Wood, readers meet the four wives of Ernest Hemingway: Hadley, Pauline, Martha, and Mary.
"Mrs. Hemingway" is told through the point of view of the four very different Mrs. Hemingways. Each section of the novel begins with each woman's realization that their marriage to the famous writer is at an end whether it be through his affairs with other women, their own desire to break free, and even through his death. The book then follows how each wife fell in love with him and their journey through life together. Readers get the opportunity to meet Hadley, Pauline, Martha, and Mary in each section and really get to know their relationship with Ernest, but also witness their own personal thoughts, desires, and dreams. Steady and kind Hadley has to deal with the fact that there are three people in her marriage: Ernest, Hadley, and the alluring Pauline. Once vivacious, but now broken Pauline must struggle with the pain of loving Ernest so deeply, but losing him to another woman, Martha. Independent and strong-willed Martha eventually comes to realization that her and Ernest aren't good for each other and her career is the most important thing, all the while he's fallen in love with someone else, Mary. Plucky and fun Mary is the last wife, but has to deal with the heartbreak of his tragic death. This novel captures each different wife of Ernest Hemingway and what her role was in his life.
"Mrs. Hemingway" is absolutely sensational! Readers will feel as if they have stepped back in time and are part of the life of Ernest Hemingway and a bystander in his four different marriages. Wood brings each wife of Hemingway to life. Wood gives more than just a view at the marriages, but a psychological view at each woman and what they went through married to Hemingway. Wood brings to life Hadley's heartbreak, Pauline's jealousy, Martha's independence, and Mary's love. Wood also portrays the connection these woman have because of their love for this difficult man. Hadley and Pauline form a friendship, Martha and Mary encounter one another and there is no catfight, and Mary witnesses the love Pauline still has for her husband. They were more than just the wives of Hemingway, they were women that formed lifetime bonds.
Wood also gives an amazing portrayal of Ernest Hemingway. He is dynamic, seductive, complicated, unlikable, vulnerable, cruel, and difficult throughout the novel. Wood's Hemingway is very complex and interesting and you can understand why the women fell so hard for him, grew so frustrated with him, and were forever impacted by him.
Another great aspect of the novel is how Wood brings to life the different settings and time periods. F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and Gerald and Sara Murphy pop up in the novel. The Roaring Twenties of parties and traveling in fascinating circles is portrayed. World War II in Paris is a huge part of the novel. Most importantly, many of Hemingway's greatest works get mention and attention. Wood portrays the very full life and times of Ernest Hemingway.
"Mrs. Hemingway" is a joy to read. It is unique, captivating, and a welcome addition in the world of historical fiction. This will certainly be one of the best and most remembered novels of 2014. Who cares about the six wives of Henry VIII when you have the four wives of Ernest Hemingway?
To purchase "Mrs. Hemingway": http://www.amazon.com/Mrs-Hemingway-Novel-Naomi-Wood/dp/0143124617
For more information on Naomi Wood: http://naomiwood.com/