The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain is written from the perspective of Hemingway's first wife Hadley. It's a well-drawn portrait of a woman who loves a creatively driven, charismatic artist of the word. Hadley tries to find relevance as Hemingway engages with Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and others in that tortured, dynamic community. Hadley is a light, tender, emotionally complicated woman who finds solace in two things, the piano and loving Hemingway. The second solace falls away as their marriage ends, but the course of their young love and how it forms them is quite touching.
The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak is a romp of a different kind. There are two threads: In the first, we meet Ella Rubenstein, whose first real job since having her children is as a reader for a literary agent. Her first manuscript is a fictionalized account of the meeting of Rumi and Shams, the Sufi Dervish of Tabriz. In the second, the reader is immersed in the fictionalized story of Rumi. I fell in love with Shams, and there is much to learn about Sufism and about the reinvigoration of love.