Love and Ruin
Note: This review is based on an Advanced Readers Copy of Love and Ruin, which I received free of charge. Expected publication is May 2018.
Though Martha Gellhorn would hate for me to start a review of this book with Hemingway, I must start with Hemingway. You see, he’s always showing up in my life.
I read A Farewell to Arms when I was in high school, then The Sun Also Rises when I was at university. Both were pleasure reads, not assigned, and the latter caught my attention. I liked its spare prose, its spare characters, and the thrill of the adventure. But I didn’t seek out Hemingway again.
Instead, Hemingway found me. When I’m not traveling I live in Sun Valley, Idaho. Hemingway spent bits of his life in my mountain town, ultimately ending his life there in 1961. He’s buried in the local cemetery, and as you might imagine, his name pops up in all sorts of places.
Still, that’s not why I ultimately picked up Love and Ruin. I picked up Love and Ruin because years ago my book club read McLain’s first well known book, The Paris Wife, and I liked it. When the opportunity arose to read an Advanced Readers Copy of Love and Ruin I took it.
And I’m so happy I did. First, I love Paula McLain’s prose. It’s beautiful. Beyond being descriptive and lovely to read, there were moments of the story when I physically felt the impact of what she was saying. I highlighted. I wrote down quotes. I thought “wow, that is a stunning line.” And I love books that do that to me.
Second, Marta Gellhorn. What a bad ass this woman was. She was Hemingway’s third wife and the only one to leave him. But beyond Hemingway—because she was so over Hemingway for the remainder of her life after the divorce—Gellhorn was a celebrated and impressive war correspondent.
Martha wrote stories of every day people. She snuck onto a hospital ship and was the only woman, and only correspondent, on the beach during D Day in World War II. She covered wars well into her 80’s. She was feisty and brave and brilliant.
This book, which I adored, was my fictional entry point into the very real Marty Gellhorn. I can’t wait to learn more about her, read her work, and find inspiration in her unique path through life.
Love and Ruin on Amazon (affiliate link)