I couldn't tell whether this book was written as a romance, or whether it was just narrated like one -- probably both.
This was my book group's choice, and I was looking forward to peeking at the Hemingways' life in Paris in the 20s. I'm sorry I exposed myself to it, because now I fear my view of Hemingway has been poisoned by an amateur with the audacity to put words into Hemingway's mouth. The only antidote is to reread A Moveable Feast.
What was really irksome, though, was the narrator. I will never again subject myself to her reading. It was dripping with syrup, and her attempts at foreign accents were laughable. She reads as though to a child, but I wouldn't let her loose on Dr. Seuss, either. She gets tons or work, though; you've got to give her credit for that.
I never realized before how important the narrator is to interpreting the book. The story is a fascinating insight into the life of Hemingway not presented before, and the author has clearly done her research well. The writing is good although too many of the conversations feel false or too pat. However the narrator's reading of the conversations comes across as a naive first reading of the script. Some the dialogue ends with a period that feels like she's just wrapped a bright bow on a package and given it an approving pat.Hemingway is so large a character, I am certain he would be difficult for anyone to try to capture his voice, but this narrator is clearly not up to it.
While I'm heavily committed to and invested in Audible, I agree with some of the others that this is a book that is probably best read.
I was sucked into the Hemmingway's world while listening to this story, and when it was over, I craved more (so I also purchased The Moveable Feast). I can see the point of some of the reviewers, that the narrator sounded a bit "whiney" at times. Ernest must have rolled over in his grave when he heard her read some of his lines of dialogue. But, it wasn't a constant thing, and did not bother me much at all. Overall, I enjoyed this narration and story very much, and I want to know more about all of the ex-pats in the Jazz Age in Paris - Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Hemmingway, the whole bunch. Would love a recommendation if someone has one.
Really made me reconsider Hemingway and writers of his time. I know I have been touched by this book because it made me want to know as much as I could about the players. I enjoyed it immensely and hated coming to the end of my car rides because it meant turning it off.
A life that I can only gaze upon and all that but a really great story! The narration by Carrington MacDuffie was also very good. I recommend this audiobook!
I enjoyed listening to this book and had no problem with the reader. In fact when it comes to the French language I love how the words sound. The story was interesting almost a back story to Ernest. Now, I'm listening to his books.
Charming story about Ernest Hemingway's first wife and their life in and around Paris prior to World War II.Great insights into Hemingway's character with a surpsrising ending (for me anyway).
The kind of book that stays with you long after.
Makes reading Hemingway now like looking in on an old friend.
I have to disagree with the other reviewers, I think the narrator is fine. After all, she can only work with the material she is given. I think the story is really interesting, but the writing is not so great. The imagery is trite and the dialogue feels stiff (especially the main character). The content of the book is what makes it a good listen.
Susan-discerning reader with limited attention span
I thought this was sort of biographical and true. I thought it was girly gibberish. Don't bother listening to it. I quit after 7 chapters. It was just boring.
I got so tired of this audiobook by 3/4 of the way for one sad reason: the hole in the middle of it where the central character should be. In the author's rendition (and the narrator's cartoony voice) Hadley Richardson comes across as mousey, bland, passive, nearly invisible.
Friends in my book group raised the question: Was that simply how she was? I doubt it. Hemingway's own account of her in "A Moveable Feast" conveys a woman he loved dearly and trusted as a peer (until he lost his rudder in the storms of fame, at least). I suspect she was a much more lively, independent-minded woman than McClain portrays - but if she really was such a passive mouse, she makes an odd choice for the central character of a novel. The insights I wanted into the woman who was Hemingway's first and arguably deepest love, who loved him long before he was famous and long after, are unfortunately few and thin.