Love and Ruin

Love and Ruin

by Paula McLain

Overview: 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.

Martha Lawton (Marjay's Reading Blog (05/14/18): Love and Ruin by Paula McLain is an historical fiction novel about Martha Gellhorn. I love historical fiction and had heard good things about Paula McLain’s books, so I decided to give it a try. I have to admit, I was feeling some trepidation about the book for about the first 20 pages and then I was drawn into the story completely. I knew little about Martha Gelhorn prior to reading, however I found myself looking up information about her life as the book progressed. Paula McLain has written a book of such quality and passion that you are totally enthralled with “Marty”, always wanting to know what is next.

I admired the writing of Paula McLain. I enjoyed reading about Ernest Hemingway and how he was such an integral part of her life. Mostly I admired the strength of character and the audacity to conquer a male dominated world that Marty had. The story followed the rough outline of her life, however the conversations, letters and connections were fiction. The fiction and the nonfiction rolled so smoothly together that it was hard to remember what was known and what was imagined.

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain was a fabulous read. I enjoyed the book tremendously. I admired the subject matter, the writing, and the weaving of fiction and nonfiction. I will add Paula McLain to my authors I like. I will continue to revisit the strength of the story and the portrayal of the main character in the future as well. Love and Ruin is a five star read!
Rating: *****

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