Love and Ruin: A Novel

by Paula McLain

Paperback, 2019

Call number




Ballantine Books (2019), Edition: Reprint, 432 pages


"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 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"--… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member startwithgivens
This narrator was phenomenal. The book, however, was not nearly as good as The Paris Wife. I am becoming less of a fan of comparing books because I feel like it sets expectations that ultimately don't get met. It's like the third movie in a series curse in a sense. I am not sure if I felt like McLain just fell short of the mark because Martha was such a strong character, or if it was because her love with Ernest was less passionate. There was just something about it that didn't feel quite right. I felt like this for the majority of the book, which made it difficult to get through.

I also just had trouble with Martha and Ernest's relationship as a whole. Nothing about it was surprising, however, the way it was written just didn't feel quite right. It didn't feel like either was particularly in love- just lust. Martha loved his children, that was clear, but the man himself? It wasn't there for me. I also found that I didn't really care. They both just seem so selfish and self-serving, which you cannot build a relationship on. Perhaps had the story been told in a third-person manner rather than narrated by Martha it would have been better. Some objective narrator that could see the damage would have been nice.

I also found the white American privilege during war times so annoying. Yes, they were both writers. But there was no struggling, even the hard times they faced during writers block was short lived. There was always an option available to change the scenery, the conditions under which they were writing. There was little concern for the people involved in the war, though not absent, it wasn't intense in my opinion. Unless, of course, referring to Ernest's son Bumby. I don't necessarily mind this attitude, as it was probably accurate given the circumstances, but again, it would have been nice to have an observer whom could see this fallacy and enlightened the audience.
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LibraryThing member Whisper1
I very much like the books of this author. They are always very well researched with a writing style I enjoy. This story of Ernest Hemingway's third wife was incredibly interesting. I admit that reading Hemingway's books in college always seemed like a chore. Thus, I know very little of the man, and nothing of his serial marriages.

Written from the point of view of Martha Gellhorn, the relationship begins when she and her mother visit a bar in the Florida Keys. Trying not to be excited, Martha recognizes Hemingway at the end of the bar. Surprised when he walks up to her, she and her mother are invited to his home and wife.

An accomplished writer, Martha wrote for Collier's and followed Ernest into the Spanish Civil War. Their tempestuous love affair began there amid the terror of death and honor of those fighting for their country. Soon after returning to the US, they began to live together in Cuba. Finding a house and staking it as theirs, both writers fell into a rhythm of writing, loving and living.

History shows that Martha loved his three sons by two previous wives. All seemed well until Ernest's fame lit a match with the designation that his book For Whom The Bell Tolls became the book of all books! After he became tremendously popular, the marriage started to fall apart at the seams. When Martha decided to go to Europe to cover WWII, Ernest knew that while he was drawn to her independence, truly what he wanted was a stay at home, pregnant wife.

While his drinking became legend and his cruelty spun out of control, he could not abide a wife who traveled without him and left him "alone." A very troubled man needed a woman at his side always.

This is a wonderful love story with the backdrop of the barbarity of war.

Highly recommended.
4/5 Stars
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LibraryThing member jayurgal
Being a fan of historical fiction, I can say this one certainly did not disappoint. I enjoyed the Paris Wife and knew I needed to read this once it was released. I was not aware of Martha Gellhorn or her great accomplishments. Given the time period, she was able to find her way in a man's world and succeed and is considered to be a Great War correspondent of the 20th century. This book was well written, kept your interest and was filled with interesting historical facts.… (more)
LibraryThing member thewanderingjew
Love and Ruin, Paula McLain, author, January LaVoy, narrator
I have enjoyed reading the author’s previous books, but this one left me a bit cold. I did like it, but only as a beach read, or perhaps chick lit, which I do not prefer.
This novel is billed as historic fiction, but it grows more into a romance. It is about the supposed relationship between Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn. Although much younger than he, she, an aspiring writer, is enamored completely by him, his fame and reputation. After her father dies, she goes on a trip to Spain with her grieving mother. There, in Barcelona, they encounter Hemingway at a bar. According to McLain, he engages them in conversation, and voila, they are smitten.
After she goes home to America with her mom, he gets in touch with her and encourages her to return to Spain to cover the war and to be with him. Hitler will soon march across Europe. He gives her hints on how to wangle her way there under the auspices of a publisher. She knows he is married and has met both his wife and their daughter; this knowledge does not dissuade her from crossing the sea and having an affair with him, nor did it dissuade his current second wife from taking him from his first wife.
At times, Martha seems painfully naïve, and at other times, she seems to be a woman of the world as she pulls off her charades and manipulates situations to enable her to return to Europe, to both be with Ernest and to cover the action. Although there are interesting moments like her involvement with Eleanor Roosevelt and the tidbits about the war, with she and Ernest falling into each other’s arms as bombs fell, I found it to be largely a love story about two people who felt irresistibly drawn to each other when they met. I wondered at Gellhorn’s mindset as she surely must have realized that once married and cheated, then twice married and cheated, the thrice married was not going to be the charm to bring about permanency in Ernest’s lovelife. He was still going to cheat.
About half way through the book, I inadvertently erased it from my listening device. I have to wonder if it was an unconscious desire to discontinue the book. I did not like the way Gellhon was portrayed as a shrinking violet at times and as a sophisticated woman of interacting with the rich and famous, at others. I wondered if she was using Hemingway and hanging onto his coattails for the purpose of furthering her own career, which it inevitably did. The portrayal of Hemingway as a letch and terribly disorderly character disturbed my romantic image of him.
The book felt melodramatic to me, and although I did put myself back on the wait list at the library to get the book and finish it, I am not sure that I will be motivated to do so when it comes due. I have an ebook, so perhaps I will take another look at that. At any rate, if you like chick lit, and you like this author and don’t expect too much from the book, you will like it.
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LibraryThing member Tasker
I just finished an ARC of the novel. Ms. McLain gets so much into Marty's (Gellhorn) character, this book reads like a memoir that flows effortlessly. With a backdrop of the rising conflict that will soon devour Europe, Hemingway paces in the background with resentment that his third wife dares to have a spirit of adventure.
LibraryThing member Carmenere
Paula McLain has written another outstanding novel about, what appears to be, one of her favorite subjects, Ernest Hemingway but also introduces Martha Gellhorn, a very strong and independent young writer.
Like her previous novel, The Paris Wife, McLain uses the voice of Hemingway's love interest, in this case writer/journalist Marty Gellhorn, to tell the story. Unlike The Paris Wife, if my memory serves me correctly, the reader is now exposed to Hemingway's thoughts, through italicized chapters, which makes him less of a predator cad and more of a sympathetic, complicated and troubled sort of man.
Marty first meets Hemingway by chance in one of his Key West haunts while traveling with her mother. He is cordial and charming as he gives them a tour of Key West and then to visit his home and family. As an accomplished author he offers his help to the struggling young writer even arranging connections for her to reach war torn Madrid to cover the front lines for Collier's. He'll be there too, of course, to help a friend film a movie to raise money for ambulances.
Marty is conflicted when Hemingway makes advances towards her. She's met his wife and sons, after all. But being Hemingway she can't hold him off for long and their illicit love affair commences.
McLain's clear and concise writing takes their years together to the Spanish Civil War, happy, lazy days in Cuba, sailing towards the gulf stream on Hemingway's fishing boat, Pilar. With the advent of World War II, their relationship sours, Gellhorn has the opportunity to report from the European Theater leaving Hemingway alone to wrestle his demons but he's a vindictive character and has a talent for getting things his way. As the title of this novel implies, all good things come to an end but what a time it was.
McLain's writing is top notch and gives those with wanderlust an enjoyable read through an historical era and for those who want to more clearly gain some knowledge into Hemingway's troubled soul something to chew on and consider.
Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review.
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LibraryThing member ethel55
This a pretty good historical fiction choice, in that it made me search the internet for information about Martha Gellhorn, to see what was factual or not. Martha, or Marty, is a reporter and writer in her own stead, remembered as one of the earliest female war correspondents. She is also the third wife of Ernest Hemingway, a powerhouse of man who most notably penned For Whom The Bell Tolls during their union. And that's kind of why I didn't enjoy the book as much as I may have. The 'ruin' part is pretty easy to see coming with two such driven people. It was good, and the parts about how they become situated in Cuba were very interesting, especially since anyone who is an English major knows how important those years wound up being for Hemingway. And after paying for Finca with the spoils from FWTBT, it's easy to see why he stays in the home when they part. I didn't know much about the Spanish Civil War, which is near the start of their relationship, but it all ends with WWII.… (more)
LibraryThing member teachlz

“Love and Ruin” by Paula McLain is an amazing, captivating, intriguing and intense novel. The Genres for this novel are Fiction and Historical Fiction, with an essence of Romance. The timeline for this story is before and during World War Two. The story takes place in Spain, Cuba, and Europe, as well as the United States.

I appreciate the historical research that Paula McLain has done to vividly describe the destruction of war. The author describes her characters as complex and complicated. Martha Gelhorn, an author and journalist and Ernest Hemingway, an author have an intense and stormy relationship.

Martha Gelhorn is portrayed as an ambitious, active, and dedicated journalist reporting atrocities of war. Ernest Hemingway is portrayed as a moody, at times ego-centric author. During the time of their relationship Ernest Hemingway writes one of his greatest novels “From Whom the Bell Tolls”. There seems to be competition and rivalry at times between the two authors.

I would recommend this novel to readers that appreciate the genre of Historical Fiction. I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest review.
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LibraryThing member librarian1204
Paula McLain has returned to Ernest Hemingway, more specifically to his third wife Martha Gellhorn. Her first novel, Paris Wife, describes Hadley and her marriage to Hemingway.
I was not a big fan of that book but I really enjoyed Ms McLain’s second book Circling the Sun.
This, however, is a very good story. It traces the relationship of Hemingway and Gellhorn from their meeting in 1936 to the end of the Second World War in 1945. A historical novel that follows Gellhorn from war zones in Spain’s fall to Franco to Finland to Japan and China to Europe and to England, and France. Gellhorn has the drive , ambition and the desire to write which draws her to Hemingway and puts her in competition, whether actual or only in the minds of book critics. Their relationship is replete with extreme highs and lows. McLain hints at the instability in Hemingway, that will eventually bring his ending.
She does not make either character completely without guilt in the collapse of their marriage, but obviously her sympathies lie with Gellhorn.
I really liked the feeling of accompanying Gellhorn through history. She does make you feel a part of the story.
Read as an ARC from NetGalley.
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LibraryThing member wagner.sarah35
Not too long ago, I read a nonfiction book about Hemingway and encountered Martha Gellhorn, a fascinating woman who came pretty close to being the equal of the great writer. Of course, being on par with Hemingway also created conflict in the relationship between Martha and Ernest. Interestingly, they seemed to work better as a couple when Hemingway was married to another woman. I enjoyed this book and I appreciated learning more about Martha Gellhorn.… (more)
LibraryThing member bogopea
Historical fiction novel of the relationship between Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, his third wife. It's a great story and it as difficult to remember that the author re-created the dialogue. It seemed very real to me. I did not like Martha at first but grew to admire her. She traveled to many war zones, with and without Hemingway and made a name for herself writing the stories of ordinary people she encountered along the way. Martha and Ernest had a passionate attraction to each other and were together for about seven years, until the marriage self-destructed.… (more)
LibraryThing member alanteder
Slips/covers up a bit in the Hemingway research, but is still a well-realized fictional portrait of Martha Gellhorn.

I thoroughly enjoyed "Love and Ruin", the 2nd of Paula McLain's portrayals of the wives of Ernest Hemingway after "The Paris Wife" which was about 1st wife Hadley. 2nd wife Pauline falls between the cracks though as she was the cause of the breakup of the 1st marriage and is turn betrayed herself when Hemingway begins an affair with future 3rd wife Gellhorn. McLain has done both books so well though that I would certainly be supportive of a tetralogy where both Pauline and 4th wife Mary receive a fictional biography.

Gellhorn was famously contemptuous and silent about Hemingway for the rest of her life after their bad breakup, relegating him to anonymity in her autobiography "Travels With Myself and Another" so the feat of reconstruction here is even more to be praised.

Hemingway fans may notice a few missteps along the way, that may signal more thorough research on Gellhorn was done than on her partner. A description of the main plot of "For Whom the Bell Tolls" describes American volunteer guerilla bomber Robert Jordan planning to blow up a bridge to thwart the Republican (sic) attack, although it was actually Franco's Nationalists that Jordan was fighting. Gellhorn's description of Hemingway's anti-UBoat patrols gives them the nickname "The Crime Shop" or "The Crook Factory" instead of the "Hooligan Navy." "Operation Friendless" was at least given as its correct official title. "The Crook Factory" was Hemingway's name for his supposed Cuban network of spies and informers. Hemingway's not very flattering fictional portrayal of Gellhorn in his single play "The Fifth Column" (1938) is completely ignored, although it surely must have sent up some warning bells in the mind of the astute Gellhorn.

Finally, although it is acknowledged briefly that Hemingway's youthful sons were always impressed by Gellhorn's ability to swear and curse, there is none of that on actual display here, so we have a very family-friendly version of Gellhorn.

Still those are very nit-picky things which can be forgiven in the overall well dramatized character arc of the Hemingway-Gellhorn romance that is portrayed here.
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LibraryThing member TaurusReader
Not as much of a page turner as the Paris Wife. Not sure if I found wife #3 a little less compelling? Cuba was more interesting than Paris but the middle of this book dragged a little for me.
LibraryThing member debkrenzer
I had absolutely no clue about Martha Gellhorn, her achievements or her fascinating life.

I love to read about the women pioneers who paved the way for others and this one did not disappoint at all!

What a sad time she had always being compared with Hemingway (as if there were any connection other than their marriage).

His stealing of her Collier's job was horrendous, abhorrent and just plain atrocious!

I loved reading this book and learning more about these people. I love the series of the wives of Hemingway by this author.

Thanks to Random House Ballantine and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
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LibraryThing member jmoncton
3.5 Stars -

Martha Gellhorn was a famous war correspondent, covering the Spanish Civil War, all the way through some of the Arab/Israeli conflict in the 1970s. But she is also famous as Ernest Hemingway's 2nd wife and this novel really covers her life as it intersects with Hemingway.

As far as depicting a time and place, this book was phenomenal. And the descriptions, including the personality quirks, of both Gellhorn and Hemingway were spot on. I definitely learned quite a bit about both of these famous writers. But as with many historical fiction novels based on real people, there is only so much you can do as far as character development or plot. These are real people and that puts a bit of a constraint on a story line.

I'm not a huge Hemingway fan, but I appreciate his skill. But when you learn about an artist or a writer whose work you admire, and that person turns out to be somewhat of a jerk, it's always a challenge to separate the art from the creator. Hemingway really mistreated the women in his life and I'm hoping that doesn't take away from my appreciation of his writing.

Good story!
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LibraryThing member bookworm12
A novelized version of Hemingway’s relationship with his third wife Martha Gellhorn. She was a war correspondent who met Hemingway in Key west. As two writers they struggled with professionalism jealous. I wasn’t a fan of the few bits that were from his POV, but loved learning more about her work and life.

“The interesting thing about chaos is that it provides perfect privacy.”

“I don’t know if I believe in war, it just makes ghosts.”
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LibraryThing member rglossne
Martha Gellhorn was Ernest Hemingway's third wife, and the only one to leave him. Gellhorn was an aspiring journalist when she met Hemingway while on vacation in Key West in her 20s. Soon, they were covering the Civil War in Spain from the same hotel, they became lovers, and eventually married. Gellhorn made a home with Hemingway in Cuba, and was with him when he published his novel of the Spanish Civil War, 'For Whom the Bell Tolls'. But Gellhorn had no intention of giving up her career as a war correspondent and her continued insistence on traveling took a toll on their relationship. Gellhorn is a fascinating character, and while this is a book specifically about her relationship with Hemingway, the author's note informs us that she continued to cover wars for many years after they divorced.… (more)
LibraryThing member JanaRose1
Martha, an aspiring journalist and writer, runs into Hemingway when she is on vacation in Key West. They quickly develop a friendship, with Hemingway taking interest in her career. When the Spanish Civil War erupts, both writers travel separately to Madrid separately. Reunited at the "press" hotel, the two find themselves irresistibly drawn to one another. Besotted, Hemingway begins the process of divorcing his current wife, and sets up a home with Martha in Cuba.

In the beginning of the book, the author kept using the past tense. It made the book really hard to get into. However, once the author switched to present tense, I found myself getting into the story and the characters. It was fascinating to read about an adventurous, courageous and ground breaking woman. I found myself googling Martha after I finished the book, I just wanted to know every detail about her. If you find yourself stuck after the first few chapters, kept pushing along, the book really picks up speed. Overall, well worth reading.
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LibraryThing member etxgardener
Paul McClain, who wrote The Paris Wife about Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley Richardson, now turns her attention to Hemingway's third, and much more interesting wife, Martha Gelhorn.

Unlike any of his other wives, Hemingway's marriage o Gelhorn was much more a marriage of equals with each of them pursuing their own writing careers. And therein lay the problem. What was seductively sexy in the white hot heat of the Spanish Civil War devolved into mundane professional jealousy as Gelhorn was given more and more interesting assignments in war torn Europe and Asia while Hemingway sank into writer's block and petty jealousy.

A successful marriage is the art of compromise on both sides and compromise was something neither Hemingway nor Gelhorn was capable of. Martha walked away first - the only one of Hemingway's wives to leave him. She continued her successful journalism career, covering wars into her eightieth decade. As for Hemingway, we all know how that ended.
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LibraryThing member tamidale
Although this book is about the relationship between Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway, I enjoyed reading about her journalistic endeavors much more than I did her romance and marriage to Hemingway.

Martha first met Ernest on a holiday in Key West and from there they formed a friendship which turned into a romantic relationship that spanned from 1937 and the Spanish Civil War up until the end of World War II. Their relationship was consumed with writing, travel and quite a bit of alcohol.

Ernest is a bit larger than life and his needs seemed to suffocate Martha. Martha had an adventurous spirit and was not content to stay at home and be only a housewife. Ernest seemed to think that once married, Martha was to be at his disposal at all times. Ernest comes off as extremely self-centered. Having read Paula McClain’s earlier novel, The Paris Wife, I think it’s safe to say that Ernest was a successful writer, but an awful husband.

The book was a slow read for me and at times seem to drag on. I found much of the writing about Martha and Ernest to be filled with superficial content, such as what they were eating or how their writing was coming along. My favorite parts of the book were when Martha was on assignment in Finland and later in Europe--most especially her time in Normandy on D-Day. Martha’s life is wonderful as a story of it’s own. It’s a shame she often was known simply as one of Hemingway’s wives.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing- Ballantine for allowing me to read an advance copy and give my honest review.
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LibraryThing member brangwinn
I picked this up because I loved McLain’s other historical fiction books. I wasn’t interested in Hemingway’s private life, but after reading this I wish I’d read the book before visiting Key West and Havana. Although the saying “You go, girl!” wasn’t around when Martha Gelman was alive, she is the epitome of the expression. She refused to be a shadow to Hemingway’s fame. I had no idea she covered wars from Franco’s takeover of Spain to Viet Nam.… (more)
LibraryThing member FerneMysteryReader
I knew nothing about Ernest Hemingway's personal life with knowledge limited to required reading of several of his novels designated as American classics in high school. After reading "The Paris Wife" I knew that I wanted a further glimpse not only of Hemingway's life but more importantly to immerse myself into Paula McLain's rich offering of this time period and in particular of Martha Gellhorn.“Anything and anyone could disappear on you, and you could disappear, too, if you didn't have people around who really knew you. Who were there solidly, meeting you exactly where you stood when life grew stormy and terrifying. Who could find you when you were lost and couldn't find yourself, not even in the mirror.”Having read "Mary: Mrs. A. Lincoln" by Janis Cooke Newman, "America's First Daughter" by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie and now "The Paris Wife" and "Love and Ruin" by Paula McLain, I believe even more strongly that these authors are bringing attention, awareness, and insight to women that we've perhaps heard mentioned in other contexts but not for their own lives. It is a gift that allows us to relish the time reading and is heart-tugging, inspirational, and captures lives that cannot be equaled by any history book.

The richness of their storytelling begins with their obvious interest in the women they have chosen to highlight in their historical fiction novels and of the intense research that leads to the intimate portrayal for the reader to absorb the period of history and to be simply fascinated with these extraordinary women – their loves, their fears, their interests, their attitudes, their achievements, their commitments, and particularly their remarkable and exceptional examples of strength and courage through times of conflict and loss.

Paula McLain's novels have touched my heart and thoughts beyond the end of the last page and the closure of the book.
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LibraryThing member janerawoof
Fiction autobiography of Martha Gellhorn, arguably the most famous woman foreign/war correspondent of the 20th century. She was also an author in her own right. It concentrated on the many war-torn places she went, among them Franco's Spain, Hitler's Germany and France; it described her stormy relationship and marriage to Ernest Hemingway. The novel was told in Martha's own voice. The author has a gift for her portrayal of incisive and fully-fleshed characters. I didn't like either of these main characters, but they did seem realistic.… (more)
LibraryThing member gpangel
Love and Ruin by Paula McClain is a 2018 Ballantine Books publication.

Vivid and pulsing with atmosphere- but a very challenging read.
Wow, Paula McClain can really draw a person into a specific time zone and leave them mesmerized by the political climate, the danger, the romance, and larger than life characters the book is centered around.

I loved ‘The Paris Wife’, the fictional account of Hemingway and his first wife. The suspense in TPW was on a more personal and emotional level. But, with Martha ‘Marty’ Gelhorn, the tension comes from a variety of circumstances, but emotion is pretty far down on the list.
Marty was an author and journalist in her own right. She was a well- known and respected war correspondent covering the Spanish Civil War. Falling in love with Ernest Hemingway, a married man, was not on her agenda, but nevertheless she embarks on a long and tumultuous affair with him and eventually he leaves his second wife, Pauline, marrying Martha almost immediately after the divorce was final.
This book chronicles Marty’s life during her “Hemingway’ years, from their first meeting, to all the adventures they experienced and survived together, to their marriage, and the eventual breakup.
The author did an amazing job of recreating the atmosphere of pre-world war two, the Spanish War, the many places in which Marty traveled to, and of course Hemingway’s Key West and the home Marty and Hemingway purchased and renovated in Cuba.

She also created interwoven textures between Hemingway and Martha's struggle with her status as his lover, not his wife, and her own ambitions. The book covers the time frame in which Hemingway wrote and published ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’, and the way the success of that novel forced a wedge between them.
However, the book, as comprehensive as it needed to be, was a real challenge for me at times. I loved the history and felt the relationship development was very well done and realistic. But, Hemingway could be so disagreeable and downright mean. I didn’t care for Marty either on a personal level, disliking the way she acquiesced to Hemingway at times, and her apathy towards breaking up his marriage. So, despite all the rich details and the lush, dangerous atmosphere the novel captured so vividly.I often felt irritable with the characters. While this may be a fictionalized accounting of events, you still can’t totally rewrite history or make the characters likeable, if they really aren’t. Still, Hemingway, warts and all, is such an intriguing person to characterize and Marty, who held her own against his rising popularity in the literary world, perhaps threatened his ego more than anyone else he was romantically associated with. Yet, she did struggle internally with her role as his lover and wife, a common conflict, as her career dueled against the typical role for women, and eventually forced Marty into a fateful decision. I admired Marty’s journalism career and her bravery, however, and believe she was a trailblazer, influencing war correspondence for many years.

The book is interesting, but on an emotional level it didn’t quite grab me in the same way ‘The Paris Wife’ did. Still, this a worthy fictional accounting of Martha and Ernest Hemingway, and is informative, and even thought provoking.

3.5 stars
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LibraryThing member strandbooks
If you want good historical fiction about women whose stories seem to be forgotten, pick up any of Paula McLain’s books. This one is about Martha Gellhorn, a war correspondent from the 1930s-1980s who was also Ernest Hemingway’s 3rd wife. The book focuses mainly on her early career and tumultuous life with Hemingway. McLain does such a great job of putting you in the setting and this book goes to some amazing places (Spain, Cuba, Montana, all over Europe). Also, I had no idea of the Russo-Finnish war until I read this book.
I was lucky to see McLain speak at the Rochester library a few years ago. Her life and the way she picks her subjects and researches is really fascinating. If she comes to your bookstore/library definitely go see her.
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