Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood

Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi WoodMrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood
Published by Penguin on 5/27/2014
Source: Publisher
Pages: 336
Buy from IndieBound


Hadley, Pauline, Martha and Mary were the four women who called themselves Mrs. Hemingway. In sections that stretch from Paris in the 1920’s through the Florida Keys to 1960’s Idaho, Naomi Wood relays the stories of the women who loved the infamous writer.

The magic of Mrs. Hemingway is Wood’s ability to make readers feel frustration and spite toward a mistress in one section, but feel empathy toward her as a wife in the next. While each of Hemingway’s wives is set apart with a distinct personality, the impact he has on all of their lives binds them together in a unique way.

“Ernest and the woman laugh as they shelter under the eave until the woman says something and looks ready to leave. Ernest watches her walk away, but his stare is one of accomplishment, as if, later in the night, he will come to possess what he appears to be losing now.”

Mrs. Hemingway‘s prose is stunningly effortless and moves with a lovely, constant cadence. Throughout the novel, Wood finds ways to bring new light to otherwise worn commentary on marriage, particularly in the section from the perspective of Mary as she grieves Hemingway’s death. Though bookstores are well stocked with “Mrs.” and “Wife” titles, Mrs. Hemingway is one that truly deserves to stand apart from the others. 

If you want to find out more, Naomi Wood recently talked talked about her dystopian debut novel The Godless Boys and the writing process for Mrs. Hemingway on the podcast You Wrote the Book.

  • How did this compare to The Paris Wife? I realize it only dealt with Hadley, but still interesting comparison. I have a thing for Hemingway and that group of writers, so I will undoubtedly get to this at some point.

    • Susan W

      Yup, this is my question too, but for different reasons. I didn’t love The Paris Wife. It actually made me really annoyed with, and dislike Hemingway, as a person.

      • I actually haven’t read The Paris Wife, so I’m not sure how it would compare…but I loved this, mostly for the style and writing over the content.

  • Jennifer Smeth

    I’m pretty excited to read this one!

  • Eleanor Baggley

    I’ve only ever read books about Hadley so I find this one really intriguing. It would be interesting to find out about the other Mrs Hemingways. I never can resist books about this group of people.

  • This sounds so good. I was already thinking of adding it to the list, now it’s on it. I love that it tells the story of all four of his wives.

  • I’m not a Hemingway fan, but I still think he’s a fascinating figure from a family with a tragic history (so I often find myself wanting to read about him). It can’t be easy “to make readers feel frustration and spite toward a
    mistress in one section, but feel empathy toward her as a wife in the
    next.” Kudos to Wood for being able to do that! Great review.

  • Sam_TinyLibrary

    I wasn’t sure about this one, as I didn’t love The Paris Wife. But I like this story focuses on all of the wives, and I know it’s going to be good if you liked it :)

  • Ti Reed

    Sounds interesting. I like it when an author can make you feel differently about a character given the situation at hand.

  • Dang! This sounds great!

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