Love and Ruin
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A powerful novel of the stormy marriage between Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, a fiercely independent woman who became one of the greatest war correspondents of the twentieth century—from the author of The Paris Wife and When the Stars Go Dark
“Romance, infidelity, war—Paula McLain’s powerhouse novel has it all.”—Glamour
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • New York Public Library • Bloomberg • Real Simple
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 her chance to prove herself a worthy journalist in a field dominated by men. There she also finds herself unexpectedly—and unwillingly—falling in love with Ernest Hemingway, a man on his way to becoming a legend.
On the eve of World War II, and set against the turbulent backdrops of Madrid and Cuba, Martha and Ernest’s relationship and 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 forge a path as her own woman and writer.
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Journalist Martha Gellhorn crisscrossed the globe reporting big stories, but the biggest tumult of her life was her relationship with Ernest Hemingway. In this completely engrossing historical romance, Paula McLain describes how Gellhorn, a top-tier 20th-century war correspondent, fell for the mercurial author. McLain—whose 2011 best-seller The Paris Wife chronicled Hemingway's stormy first marriage—beautifully channels Gellhorn's voice, using her heroine’s keen powers of observation to depict high-society glamour, the terror of wartime, and the battlefields of love.
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.
LOVE AND RUIN
PORTRAIT of a WRITER
as a HEMINGWAY WIFE
Paula McClain is an archaeologist who carefully sifts through the relics of Hemingway marriages.
LOVE AND RUIN, her second such foray after THE PARIS WIFE, reveals the complex life of Martha Gellhorn, famous war correspondent and Papa’s only spouse brave enough to leave him. She was his third of four wives.
McClain paints Gellhorn as a young woman beset by insecurities, the end of an affair with a married man, and the loss of a father who never fully accepts her. She is ripe for a tortured relationship with Ernest, which she enters with eyes wide open.
WRITING AS HAPPINESS
Insecurity informs her writing too, which she sublimates to her relationships — a clearly accepted choice at the time, although one that troubles her, as she knows writing is essential to her happiness.
Gellhorn feels compelled to tell the stories she witnesses in Spain, Germany and Finland of Everyman in war ... and of Everywoman and child as well. In doing so, she fulfills a deep sense of purpose. This gives her the courage to eventually move out of her husband’s suffocating shadow into her own light.
Although the story takes time to root, McClain woos us from the start with her gorgeous descriptive writing. I highly recommend this Portrait of a Writer as a Young Woman, McClain’s lovely Valentine to the gutsy Martha Gellhorn.
I loved this book!
I enjoyed it as much as The Paris Wife. Now I’m off to find more books by this author!
Love and Ruin
Another book which was hard to put down.