From the bestselling author of The House of Hawthorne comes a historical fiction novel that gives life to the women behind novelist Ernest Hemingway in a “robust, tender story of love, grief, and survival on Key West in the 1930s.”*
In Depression-era Key West, Mariella Bennet, the daughter of an American fisherman and a Cuban woman, knows hunger. Her struggle to support her family following her father’s death leads her to a bar and bordello, where she bets on a risky boxing match...and attracts the interest of two men: world-famous writer, Ernest Hemingway, and Gavin Murray, one of the WWI veterans who are laboring to build the Overseas Highway.
When Mariella is hired as a maid by Hemingway’s second wife, Pauline, she enters a rarified world of lavish, celebrity-filled dinner parties and elaborate off-island excursions. As she becomes caught up in the tensions and excesses of the Hemingway household, the attentions of the larger-than-life writer become a dangerous temptation...even as straightforward Gavin Murray draws her back to what matters most. Will she cross an invisible line with the volatile Hemingway, or find a way to claim her own dreams? As a massive hurricane bears down on Key West, Mariella faces some harsh truths...and the possibility of losing everything she loves.
Robuck drops the fictional 19-year-old Mariella Bennet into the life of Ernest Hemingway in her richly realized newest (after Receive Me Falling), set in Depression-era Key West, Fla. Mariella's father has just died. In order to raise money to care for her mother and sisters, Mariella bets on a boxing match refereed by Hemingway. Though she loses the bet, Mariella befriends the famous writer and is hired as a housemaid for Hemingway and his second wife, Pauline. Soon after, Mariella and Papa Hemingway attend another bout where one of the fighters, WWI veteran and Overseas Highway worker Gavin Murray, becomes smitten with Mariella. As she struggles to balance her fascination with the Hemingways' glamorous life and the prospect of settling down with Gavin, an enormous hurricane careens toward the Keys. As the winds pick up and the rains fall down, tensions rise and Mariella must choose which way to run. Robuck brings Key West to life, and her Hemingway is fully fleshed out and believable, as are Mariella and others. Readers will delight in the complex relationships and vivid setting.
Took a chance and Loved it
This is a great read!! I can usually tell in the first two chapters if i will love a book or be able to walk away from it..couldn't walk away! I was searching for a new book and just happened upon this randomly.. Will be recommending to all my book loving friends. I can't wait to check out more from Erika Robuck.. Job well done! I felt like I was reading about people I knew, the portrayals are very well done and...human, not like a fairylike book. I think the letters at the end were my favorite part. Read it!!
Loved this book. Didn’t put it down but to sleep. Got me up in my feelings. Tears were involved. 💙
Couldn’t put it down
Picked up this book on my trip down to Key West in a little bookstore in the Keys. Really enjoyed reading this book leisurely on my vacation.