The internationally bestselling author of The Paris Wife returns to the timeless subject of Ernest Hemingway in this story of his passionate, volatile third marriage to Martha Gellhorn, an ambitious, fiercely independent, beautiful blonde who became one of the greatest war correspondents of the 20th century.
In 1937, nervous but determined to succeed, Martha Gellhorn travels alone to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War, and finds herself drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in devastating conflict. She also finds herself unexpectedly—and uncontrollably—falling in love with Ernest Hemingway, a man already on his way to becoming a legend. In the shadow of the impending Second World War, and set against the tumultuous backdrops of Madrid, Finland, China, Key West and especially Cuba, where Martha and Ernest made their home, their relationship and 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 suffocating demands of a domestic lifestyle, or risk losing her husband by forging a path as her own woman and writer. It is a dilemma that will force her to break his heart, or her own.
Advance praise for Love and Ruin:
“Wonderfully evocative. . . . [Paula] McLain’s fans will not be disappointed; this is historical fiction at its best, and today’s female readers will be encouraged by Martha, who refuses to be silenced or limited in a time that was harshly repressive for women.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“McLain has perfected her dramatic and lyrical approach to biographical fiction, lacing Marty’s ardent inner life into electrifying descriptions of place and action. . . . McLain brings forth the deepest, most ringing elements of both ‘love and ruin,’ the two poles of Marty and Ernest’s tempestuous relationship, a ferocious contest between two brilliant, willful, and intrepid writers. McLain’s fast-moving, richly insightful, heart-wrenching, and sumptuously written tale pays exhilarating homage to its truly exceptional and significant inspiration.”—Booklist (starred review)
“If you loved McLain’s 2011 blockbuster The Paris Wife, you’re sure to adore her new novel, which is just as good, if not better.”—AARP
McLain (The Paris Wife) strikingly depicts Martha Gellhorn's burgeoning career as a writer and war correspondent during the years of her affair with and marriage to Ernest Hemingway. The narrative begins when Gellhorn, who has garnered national recognition for her field reporting on the Great Depression, meets Hemingway and travels with him to cover the Spanish Civil War at his suggestion. The war both horrifies and inspires her to continue writing, particularly one traumatic moment when she witnesses a child being killed by a mortar. While in Spain, Gellhorn and Hemingway become romantically involved and then move to Cuba, set up house, and launch into a productive period of writing and publishing. Things go well for a few years, but Hemingway's neediness and jealousy eventually poisons their happiness and forces Gellhorn to choose between her own career and indulging his desire for a devoted wife. Realizing her true passion comes from on-the-ground reporting, Gellhorn decides to cover D-Day by leaving Hemingway and stowing away on the first hospital ship to land at Normandy, wading ashore to become the "first journalist, male or female, to make it there and report back." Gellhorn emerges as a fierce trailblazer every bit Hemingway's equal in this thrilling book.
Fascinating page turner
Loved this booked and have read it more than once