Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Woods


It is Paris in the summer in 1926.  Ernest Hemmingway along with wife Hadley are enjoying time in the villa in southern France.  They laugh and flirt and receive admiring glances from strangers, yet they are not alone.  Fife, the woman who caught Ernest’s eye at a party awhile back is there as well.  As much as Hadley wishes she could hate her, she finds Fife’s laid back easy-going ways to be appealing.  It is easy to see what draws Ernest too her,and Hadley herself has come to know Fife as one of her dearest friends even thought she occasionally gives Ernest an ultimatum – end it now.

Eventually, Ernest does end it.  But not with Fife.  He ends his marriage to Hadley and marries Fife who is overjoyed as she has won the man of her dreams, even at the cost of Hadley.  Together, Fife feels, they were go into their golden years hand in hand.

As years go by, Fife starts to see Ernest giving an appreciate eye to a younger, perkier woman named Martha.  Fife suddenly know what it feels what it must have been like for Hadley as she watches, helpless as her husband finds ways to go away with Martha.   Heart sick, Fife watches her marriage crumble before her.

But – if Martha thinks that she is the last of the Hemingway wives; she had better think again….




Woo this was good!  I listened to this on audio and Kate Reading did a wonderful job narrating the voices of Ernest’s four wives as well as Ernest and an assortment of friends along the way.  (Kate Reading’s rendition of Fife was exactly as I would have pictured her sounding, a distinctive smooth self-assured voice.

This was one of those audio books you hate to turn off.  I love historical fiction!  This audio was filled with real letters and telegrams of conversations that just added to the intrigue of Ernest Hemingway.  I had no idea about Ernest’s life or loves, or even his untimely surprising death.

The book is told in alternating chapters by each of the four wives (talk about hearing “her side” of the story!), this fictional story unfolds as though you were right there.  It has left me wanting to know more.  I have never read Hemingway, but I plan to give him a try after feeling that I now… kind of know the man, and am now curious between all that time of having an unsettled heart… what did he write about?

Super fab people…. SUPER FAB.


  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins 
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (May 27, 2014)
  • Format: Unabridged


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48 thoughts on “Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Woods

  1. I actually saw this book recently, on someone’s blog, and also saw one on Mrs. Poe! There’s a thing with author’s wives, I guess! lol Obviously, a LOT of creative license is taken when writing something like this. I think I read Hemingway in high school, but I appreciated NOthing I was forced to read in high school! I should read something of his that’s short, I think. It’s the only way it MIGHT happen lol So glad you REALLY enjoyed this, Sheila 😀

    1. The whole “Mrs.” think is hot right now.. .also the ___________ Wife… insert anything there – Butcher’s, Baker’s, Candle Stick Maker’s…
      I don’t think I could have just read Hemingway but now feeling I know something about who he was… I may be able to give it a try.

  2. This kind of sounds like ‘The Paris Wife’ to me, at least at the beginning. That book focuses on his time with Hadley and ends when he marries Fife. I think it would be really interesting to see how he fares with the rest of the women! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Reading ‘The Paris Wife’ made me add some Hemingway to my list as well. I’ve read ‘A Farewell to Arms’ and his Nick Adams stories before but now I’m tempted to read ‘The Sun Also Rises.’

  3. To say I’m not a fan of Hemingway would be an understatement. I also wasn’t a fan of The Paris Wife, but I am a fan of historical fiction and “the other side of the story” kind of novels. Maybe I’ll try the audio version.

    1. I had no idea he was married 4 times – nor did I know anything about his death and was surprised enough to follow up some research on it. I like that in historical fiction, where it makes me dig deeper into the story 🙂

  4. This is the second great review I’ve read about this book. I think I’ll read this book simply because I loved Hadley in The Paris Wife and am curious to see if I can come to like Fife.

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