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Nancy's Notes - October 2, 2014

Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood, The Undertaking by Audrey Magee, The Bones of Paris by Laurie R. King.

Naomi Wood’s Mrs. Hemingway has been recommended in several magazines I have read. It tells the story of how it was to love, and be loved by, the famous writer. Hadley, Pauline, Martha and Mary, each Mrs. Hemingway, thought their love would last forever but each one was wrong. The book is told in four parts and based on real love letters and telegrams. Mrs. Hemingway reveals the love triangles that wrecked each of Hemingway's marriages. The story spans three decades, from the 1920s in bohemian Paris through the 1960s Cold War in America. 

In a desperate bid to escape the trenches of the Eastern front, Peter Faber, a German soldier, marries Katharina Spinell, a woman he has never met. The marriage of convenience promises ‘honeymoon’ leave for him and a pension for her should he die in the war. With ten days’ leave secured, Peter visits his new wife in Berlin and both are surprised by the feelings that develop between them. When Peter returns to the horror of the front, it is only the dream of Katharina that sustains him. Back in Berlin, Katharina, goaded on by her desperate parents, ruthlessly works her way into Nazi high society, instilling herself, her young husband, and her unborn child to the regime. But when the tide of war turns and Berlin falls, Peter and Katharina find their dream of family hard to hold on to.

My last book takes place in Paris, France circa 1929. Harris Stuyvesant, a private investigator, is getting paid to prowl the cafés and bars of Montparnasse, looking for a pretty young woman. The missing person in question is Philippa Crosby, a twenty-two year old from Boston who has been living in Paris, modeling and acting. Her family became alarmed when she stopped all communications, and Stuyvesant agreed to track her down. He wholly expects to find her in the arms of some up-and-coming artist, perhaps experimenting with the decadent lifestyle. As Stuyvesant follows Philippa’s trail through the community of artists and writers, he finds that she is known to many of its famous and infamous inhabitants. But when the evidence leads Stuyvesant to the Théâtre du Grand-Guignol in Montmartre, his investigation takes a disturbing turn. 
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