Love and Ruin

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Jun 2018

Member Reviews

I've read many books I famous couples and would rank this one with the best of them.  Me McLain has brought life to the characters while keeping the history interestin, a hard thing to do.  I'm looking forward to her next book!
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Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book. 

With this book, it's official: I'll read anything Paula McLain writes. I devoured The Paris Wife and enjoyed Circling the Sun, but I was thrilled to see McLain return to a Hemingway theme with Love and Ruin. 

Before reading this book, I only knew Martha Gellhorn in the context of Hemingway. But boy, was she a force of nature. This novel more or less covers the "Hemingway years," which sent me on a webquest to learn everything I could about Gellhorn. That's the type of historical fiction I love most: something that sends me out in the world in search of more.
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Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for my review. Here is that review.

Martha Gellhorn was quite a writer and journalist in her own right, but when she met Ernest Hemingway, he almost ruined her. The third of his four wives, she was the only one to maintain her own independence when she married him, and it finally ended the marriage, because he needed a constant companion. She chose once too many times to follow her own career and he couldn't take it. 

When this story begins, Martha has just lost her father and is recovering both from that loss and the terrible reviews for her first book. She, her mother, and her sister flee to Key West to escape and refuel, and there they run into Ernest Hemingway. Martha immediately recognizes him, and soon learns that he knows who she is, too.  When they meet again in Spain, both covering the civil war there, the relationship soon turns to an affair and Ernest's wife, who also had an affair with him while he was married, is not pleased.

They live a seemingly idyllic life, living mostly in Cuba, but wandering wherever Ernest wants. Martha's need to follow her own path leads to the downfall of the marriage, as Ernest soon finds another woman.

Having also read The Paris Wife by the same author, one gets a fuller picture of Ernest Hemingway and just what he wanted and needed from his women.
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Thank you for the opportunity to read and review another Paula McLain novel.  I was fortunate to attend the NYC spring evening with Paula which was delightful!

Quick Review, posted to GoodReads and my personal blog:

Have you read this book? It's an interesting story of a woman I didn't know much about. Ernest Hemingway's wife, Martha. It's a good book club pick as there is much to discuss. 3.5 stars

I enjoyed the first two thirds more than the last third of the novel. But only because I kept waiting to read about Martha's amazing life after Ernest. I did learn so much about this time in history, the political climate, the danger, how strong Martha was as a woman.  She knew what she wanted and got it. This book is also filled with romance, and larger than life characters. 

Paula McLain clearly did her research, and her writing is lovely.  I met the author right before the pub date and was able to hear so much about the history behind the story.  The author is a wonderful storyteller!
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I had read McLain’s book about Hadley Richardson, Hemingway’s first wife, so was a little intrigued to read about his third, Martha Gelhorn. I found Martha a very interesting subject, and her strength and dedication to reporting about war even when she was the only female around was inspiring.  The story was told in the first person, but then there were a few monologues in the voice of Hemingway mixed in, which I found a little disruptive. Neither book has given me much admiration for Hemingway, and I am done with reading about him or his wives!  McLain did a good job painting the atmosphere, both the frenetic scenes of war and the alternating quiet and frenzied life around Ernest.  I liked the strong bond between Martha and her mother, and found myself wondering about the relationship which strengthened Martha and sent her out with the courage to plot her own destiny, even when being pulled off-course by Ernest.
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Love and Ruin by Paula McClain is a 2018 Ballantine Books publication. 

Vivid and pulsing with atmosphere- but a very challenging read. 
Wow, Paula McClain can really draw a person into a specific time zone and leave them mesmerized by the political climate, the danger, the romance, and larger than life characters the book is centered around. 

I loved ‘The Paris Wife’, the fictional account of Hemingway and his first wife. The suspense in TPW was on a more personal and emotional level. But, with Martha ‘Marty’ Gelhorn, the tension comes from a variety of circumstances, but emotion is pretty far down on the list. 
Marty was an author and journalist in her own right. She was a well- known and respected war correspondent covering the Spanish Civil War. Falling in love with Ernest Hemingway, a married man, was not on her agenda, but nevertheless she embarks on a long and tumultuous affair with him and eventually he leaves his second wife, Pauline, marrying Martha almost immediately after the divorce was final. 
This book chronicles Marty’s life during her “Hemingway’ years, from their first meeting, to all the adventures they experienced and survived together, to their marriage, and the eventual breakup. 
The author did an amazing job of recreating the atmosphere of pre-world war two, the Spanish War, the many places in which Marty traveled to, and of course Hemingway’s Key West and the home Marty and Hemingway purchased and renovated in Cuba. 

She also created interwoven textures between Hemingway and Martha's struggle with her status as his lover, not his wife, and her own ambitions. The book covers the time frame in which Hemingway wrote and published ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’, and the way the success of that novel forced a wedge between them. 
However, the book, as comprehensive as it needed to be, was a real challenge for me at times. I loved the history and felt the relationship development was very well done and realistic. But, Hemingway could be so disagreeable and downright mean. I didn’t care for Marty either on a personal level, disliking the way she acquiesced to Hemingway at times, and her apathy towards breaking up his marriage. So, despite all the rich details and the lush, dangerous atmosphere the novel captured so vividly.I often felt irritable with the characters. While this may be a fictionalized accounting of events, you still can’t totally rewrite history or make the characters likeable, if they really aren’t. Still, Hemingway, warts and all, is such an intriguing person to characterize and Marty, who held her own against his rising popularity in the literary world, perhaps threatened his ego more than anyone else he was romantically associated with. Yet, she did struggle internally with her role as his lover and wife, a common conflict, as her career dueled against the typical role for women, and eventually forced Marty into a fateful decision. I admired Marty’s journalism career and her bravery, however, and believe she was a trailblazer, influencing war correspondence for many years. 



The book is interesting, but on an emotional level it didn’t quite grab me in the same way ‘The Paris Wife’ did. Still, this a worthy fictional accounting of Martha and Ernest Hemingway, and is informative, and even thought provoking. 

3.5 stars
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Love and Ruin is a sumptuous feast for historical fiction lovers. This novel is well-written. The characters are very detailed. This novel has easily become my favorite of 2018. I do wonder why Mrs. McLaine has skipped over the second wife’s story and moved onto the third. I hope that she will one day write about all of Hemingway’s wives. I highly recommend this for fans of biographical fiction!
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Having read THE PARIS WIFE and CIRCLING THE SUN by Paula McLain I was anxious to read LOVE AND RUIN; it was good, actually very good but her other two books were great reads.  

This novel chronicles the journalistic rise of Martha Gellhorn and her relationship with Ernest Hemingway.  

Ms. Gellhorn was struggling to find her way in life when she and her family meet Hemingway in Key West, Florida. He convinces Martha to join him in Spain to report on the civil war going on there.  Martha acuqires a press pass, becomes a correspondent and enjoys her new career path. Ernest seduces Martha though married to Pauline Pfeiffer, the mother of his two sons.  An affair ensues.

It reads like the usual Ernest Hemingway novel, in this book Ms. Gelhorn was actually the interesting one but perhaps not interesting enough to let me love this novel as I did previous novels by Ms. McLain.

I will be anxiously awaiting the next novel by Paula McLain.
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Love and Ruin by Paula McLain. If you like historical fiction you will like Love and Ruin. Living with a best selling author Ernest Hemingway can be both challenging and mind boggling
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Reading a novel by Paula McLain is a great assignment…an assignment filled with the joy of reading her beautiful and poetic prose, meeting her always interesting characters, and finding myself in another time and place. Love and Ruin did not disappoint.

Hemingway takes another wife may not be what you think you want to read, but told by Paula McLain it is a beautiful story. That is with the exception of Hemingway’s treatment of women, especially his wives. His marriage to Martha Gellhorn proves to be no different.

However, the descriptive language of the novel, especially the details of the Spanish Civil War and the role played by the characters in the book, make up for the fact that Hemingway is himself, no matter which war is being fought. Gellhorn is young and enamored of Hemingway’s fame and his large and strong persona. Young girls found him attractive and mysterious. Gellhorn was no exception. Her dream of working as a journalist also made Hemingway an effective mentor and help in getting her work published.

I have not read all of McLain’s books, but I do respect her work as a great writer. When I find an author who transports me to the time and place and action by painting pictures with words, I always come back for more. McLain is one of those writers.
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I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I didn't ever know too much about Ernest Hemingway except that I loved "A Farewell to Arms" and that he committed suicide. I didn't know too much about his marital history. This book was about one of his wives, Martha Gellhorn, who was a writer and war corespondent

This book was okay to me, but definitely not a favorite. I felt at some points there was just too much. I started to really dislike Ernest and Martha both by the end. I think this was supposed to make you grow to respect her, but she came across as whiny and weak to me. People that like historical fiction may enjoy it, but if you don't want to hate Ernest Hemingway, this isn't the book for you!.
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Once again, Paula Mclain does not disappoint.  I read The Paris Wife and thoroughly enjoyed it and now she is back with Love and Ruin. 

Love and Ruin is the story of Ernest Hemingway and his third wife, Martha Gelhorn.  I knew nothing of their relationship before reading this historical fiction.   This is the story of what happens when two very strong people, in basically the same field, try to love and live their lives together.  

Martha was an upcoming young journalist and writer when she met Ernest Hemingway.  She wanted to cover what was happening in Spain during the Spanish civil war.  Her stories focused on the people and their personal stories.  While being thrown into life or death situations, she began to fall in love with Ernest, even though he had a wife and children at home. 

Martha craved the excitement of being in the action as much as Hemingway did.  They were both such strong people, committed to causes, committed to their writing and committed to each other.  There was jealousy on both sides and it was a relationship that was almost doomed from the very beginning.  Too intense, too much in common, too much alike. 

I really enjoyed this book.   Martha Gelhorn was fearless in her pursuit of a story.  I’ve read that Martha Gelhorn is portrayed as someone who latched on to Hemingway to further her career.  Paula Mclain presents her more as an equal, at least in terms of drive and ambition.  She became one of the greatest war correspondents in history.   

I received an ARC of this book.
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I received an advance copy of Love ad Ruin from Net Galley. I am a huge fan of Paula McLain. I have loved The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun. This book cemented that I will read all of Paula's books.
The story is about Marty Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway as they progress through being journalists, authors and finally a married couple. It is fiction with historical events mixed in to tell their love story. I won't go into the plot line chapter by chapter but I will ask to to read this one. You won't be able to put it down.
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I typically love Paula's books but this one just didn't do it for me. I found the story really slow to start which made it really hard for me to get into. And it felt like Martha was this meek thing with none of the gumption that I had learned of.
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This is a good historical fiction read about Hemingway and his third wife. I was not as enamored with this book as I was with The Paris Wife. I received a copy from NetGalley and this is my honest review.
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Love and Ruin is my first read by Paula McLain.  I really wanted to like this book. I just could not get into this book at all.  I do like historical fiction and I know nothing about Hemingway, but I found this book very dull. I only read 20% of the book before just giving up. I just didn't care about Gellhorn or Hemingway's story-line or the Spanish Civil War. Special thanks to Netgalley and Ballantine Books for the advanced copy to read in exchange for my honest opinion. 

#LoveAndRuin #NetGalley
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The author of THE PARIS WIFE takes on the story of Martha Gellhorn, a war correspondent and Hemingway's third wife. Being married to a man larger than life while reporting in war-torn countries proves to be an impossible situation. My sympathies lay with Gellhorn, a woman who wanted to have her career while sharing her life with Hemingway, but he wouldn't or couldn't deal with the arrangement. I enjoyed reading the book but not as much as I loved THE PARIS WIFE.

(posted on Goodreads and Amazon)
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This was another wonderfully researched and written story. This author seems to get better and better. I couldn't put it down
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What a book!, what a story!! The stormy relationship between Hemingway and Gellhorn is relentless.  I admire her so much. She was such a strong woman, traveling the world, alone, as a war correspondent, She certainly put up with plenty in that relationship, and the fact that he said to her in the Epilogue, I’m going to marry her...meaning another woman, was just too too much! Paula McLain did remarkable research into this novel. I wonder at it! A well worth it read, completely fascinating, at times very difficult to read about WWII. Thank you to Netgalley and Ballantine books for the perusal for an honest review.
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Historical fiction about an intriguing character like Ernest Hemmingway...you have my interest piqued. What a character he was and what a good job McLain did in showing us more possible sides to him and his life. HIs words added to the historical situations made this an interesting read, a read that made me want to know more! That is a sign of a good historical fiction novel!  Highly recommend.
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