Posts Tagged ‘Hadley Richardson’


Reading novels set in France is very satisfying for us locals.  We recognise familiar characters, landscapes and situations.  But ‘The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted’ is in a category of its own as it is set in the village of Puyloubier and has characters going in and out of Aix and even Trets!

It tells the story of a young American widow who comes to stay in her childhood holiday home in Puyloubier, with her autistic son and rebellious teenage niece.  And it’s the story of the beautiful old Provencal house which is ‘responsible for mending hearts’.

The author who lives in Florida came over to live in the village for 6 weeks to research the book – and has faithfully recreated the narrow streets, ancient houses, the vineyards and the shops right down to the Cocci market!  She has even added in an authentically described M. le Maire.

I did find the first part – 100 pages of plot-setting in the US a bit long – in fact the whole book could be edited more to make it tighter, but it’s enjoyable despite some longeurs.

And I really admire her industry – coming to Provence and getting such a successful book out of it.  12.90€ from Book In Bar.


Now to early 20th century Paris for our next novel.  ‘The Paris Wife’ by Paula McLaine tells the story of Hadley Richardson, a shy 28-year old, who met Ernest Hemingway in Chicago.  Married, she found herself moving to jazz-age Paris where the young couple lived cheaply in tiny neighbourhood apartments but were soon moving in the right artistic and literary circles.

This novel is typical of a new genre which resurrects people who have played a supporting role in history or in famous lives – books by Sarah Dunant and Tracy Chevalier have shone focus on women who had otherwise been forgotten.  Paula McLaine though has not had to invent her character – she has used Hemingway’s own writings, contemporary biographies and Hadley’s letters as a solid base for her reconstruction of the short but passionate marriage.  It left me wanting to know more about both characters – and read some Hemingway.

A good account of a charismatic couple and of Paris in its artistic heyday.




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