Hadley and Ernest Hemingway were among them.
They had met in the Midwest, in Chicago, after Hadley left her childhood home in St. Louis. They were drawn to each other immediately.
For Hadley, Ernest offered a boost to her battered self-esteem, after a troubled childhood in which she was the least favored daughter. To Ernest, Hadley represented the kind of calm and inspiration which he was seeking.
Paris Without End: The True Story of Hemingway's First Wife (P.S.) delves into the early years of their lives together, and how those were the years that defined Hemingway as a literary giant. His struggles were many, but he didn't give up. For years afterwards, long after he and Hadley had separated, their fondness for one another lived on, reminding them of that time in their lives. Toward the end of the book, this excerpt sums up that time:
"'A Moveable Feast' lovingly delineates the quiet, peaceful world Ernest and Hadley had created in their Paris flat. `Like Huck Finn's river, the apartment over the sawmill is a place of renewal and purification. Hadley is both lover and mother, their Paris a garden and playground,' wrote Arthur Edelstein in a review of the book. The love story transcends the personal and seems to symbolize the dreams of the jazz era generation."
As I read this detailed biography of a unique time in the lives of both Hadley and Ernest, I was drawn to the richness of their lives, despite the many challenges. Money was not plentiful, but the two of them found many ways to enjoy their lives together.
And their lives were full of the joy of youth and the promise of a future.
Even though their lives did not turn out the way they'd planned, and, in fact, great sadness and loss would occur in later years, the memories of their idyllic time in Paris illuminated their lives in memorable ways. Five stars.