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In 1937, twenty-eight-year-old Martha Gellhorn travels alone to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War and becomes drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in the devastating conflict. It’s the adventure she’s been looking for and her chance to prove herself a worthy journalist in a field dominated by men. But she also finds herself unexpectedly—and uncontrollably—falling in love with Hemingway, a man on his way to becoming a legend.
In the shadow of the impending Second World War, and set against the turbulent backdrops of Madrid and Cuba, Martha and Ernest’s relationship and their professional careers ignite. But when Ernest publishes the biggest literary success of his career, For Whom the Bell Tolls, they are no longer equals, and Martha must make a choice: surrender to the confining demands of being a famous man’s wife or risk losing Ernest by forging a path as her own woman and writer. It is a dilemma that could force her to break his heart, and hers.
Heralded by Ann Patchett as “the new star of historical fiction,” Paula McLain brings Gellhorn’s story richly to life and captures her as a heroine for the ages: a woman who will risk absolutely everything to find her own voice.
The bestselling author of The Paris Wife returns to the subject of Ernest Hemingway in a novel about his passionate, stormy marriage to Martha Gellhorn—a fiercely independent, ambitious young woman who would become one of the greatest war correspondents of the twentieth century.
Praise for Paula McLain
“Paula McLain is considered the new star of historical fiction, and for good reason.”—Ann Patchett, Country Living
“McLain has such a gift for bringing characters to life.”—Jojo Moyes
“Paula McLain cements herself as the writer of historical fiction.”—Jodi Picoult
“With a sharp eye for detail and style to spare, McLain captures the nuances of complex relationships.”—Christina Baker Kline
About the Author:
Paula McLain is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Circling the Sun, The Paris Wife, and A Ticket to Ride, the memoir Like Family: Growing Up in Other People’s Houses, and two collections of poetry. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, O: The Oprah Magazine, Town & Country, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere. She lives in Ohio with her family.
I believe this is the MOST highlighted book in my collection. Not only is it another unique look into Hemingway’s life, but also into the very beginnings of war.
I loved the point of view of Martha, a fellow writer and how she viewed writing, war, her career, and the elusive Hemingway.
Something was missing in my life-in me- and I thought writing could fill it or fix it, or cure me of myself.
Martha goes on a string of “relationships”, which are no more than one night stands with many of them as she tries to navigate the writing world as a woman. Then she stumbles upon her idol, Ernest Hemingway, in a bar in Florida.
His eyes cut sideways at me in the mirror, and my pulse quickened. It was something to have his attention, even briefly. Like a bright light passing my way before moving on. But there was also a feeling that he really saw me, and understood how my mind worked. It didn’t make any sense, as we’d just met- but he was a brilliant painter of people in his work, and I believed that he probably did see all kinds of things, perhaps without even trying.
I loved Martha’s wrestle within herself, whether to take Ernest’s attention seriously or professionally.
I didn’t want to cause trouble; I only knew what I knew. That Ernest could eclipse me, large as any sun, without even trying. That he was too famous, too far along in his own career, too sure of what he wanted. He was also too married, too dug into the life he’d built in Key West. Too driven, too dazzling. Too Hemingway.
I also loved our brief glimpses of what was going on in Hemingway’s mind as well.
All he can see for the moment is what’s in front of him, only that, and she is part of it. It might be the war changing him, being at the knife-bright edge of things for the first time in many years. Whatever the reason, she’s gotten through whatever defenses he’s built up and now he doesn’t want to stop thinking of her and trying to be closer to her, no matter what it ruins.
If you are a fan of The Paris Wife , then this is a must read!!
You can pre-order your copy of Love and Ruin Here.
I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from Netgalley. All opinions stated above are my own.