Love and Ruin

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Jun 2018

Member Reviews

Although I deplore  Ernest Hemingway's arrogance and misogyny, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Paula McLain's "Love and Ruin" about Martha Gellhorn's career and relationship/marriage to Ernest Hemingway.  Gellhorn's life was exciting enough without her becoming Hemingway's third wife, and reading about her wartime reporting adventures as well as her time in Cuba with Hemingway transported me to a different place and time in literary and American/world history through McLain's thorough research and vivid descriptions.  I am fortunate to have visited  Gellhorn's and Hemingway's incredible home in Havana, but the portrayal of the house and grounds in the novel is so accurate and detailed that a reader will see this place without having to travel there.  Paula McClain did an excellent job of introducing this reader to Martha Gellhorn whose fame should not be based on her marriage to a famous author.  Thanks to Net Galley (and to Paula McClain!), I was able to learn more about this interesting woman and her fascinating life and career.
Was this review helpful?
I'm not really a historical fiction type of girl. It was interesting to get a perspective of the life of a writer. I felt like McLain really brought to life the struggles a woman faces when choosing between herself and her husband. Do you chase your own goals or do you stand beside and be supportive. I love that Martha followed her heart and pushed herself to make her own dreams and happiness.
Was this review helpful?
Love and Ruin is the tumultuous, passionate story of Ernest Hemingway and his wife, Martha Gellhorn. Set against many beautiful backdrops, this is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and Ernest Hemingway.
Was this review helpful?
I first started reading this book without knowing anything about it except, well, it's Paula McLain. 'Nuff said.  We are introduced to the heroine without knowing her name until some pages later when, to my delight, "Gellhorn" appears and I realize the author has moved on from "The Paris Wife" to the next installment in Hemingway's path of destruction (hence the title "Love and Ruin").  But, Martha Gellhorn is a fighter. She pursues her career with passion and determination even while under the shadow of her larger-than-life husband. McLain paints Gellhorn in vivid detail, doing justice to this remarkable woman.  The finale ends with VE Day and left me wanting to know more about this innovative and trailblazing war correspondent who produced an amazing body of work against all odds.  The author's notes briefly recapping the rest of Gellhorn's life make me hopeful for another book about the decades of adventures which followed until her death in 1998.
Was this review helpful?
Loved this book. A very interesting look at another of Ernest Hemingway's wives. I wish it had ended better, but obviously it was true to real life.
Was this review helpful?
4.25. Fascinating read.  I like historical novels and this one did not disappoint.  I read and liked The Aviators Wife, and Circling the Sun by Paula McLain so I was eager o read this book.  The novel is centered around Martha Gellhorn, a writer, war time correspondent in the Spanish Civil War and World War II and wife of Ernest Hemingway.  She was ambitious, independent and a true trailblazer for women in what traditionally was a male profession.  As a fan of St. Louis, I was even more engrossed as she was a St. Louis native with strong ties to the area.  Ms. Gellhorn was a gutsy lady, butting up against the male entrenched correspondent profession, and doing quite successfully but not without some setbacks.  The novel also was interesting in providing an intimate look  into the very complex character of Ernest Hemingway as well as their complicated relationship, admiration between the two but also very competitive.  The novel showed the atrocities of war through the sometimes terrifying front line role of war correspondents while also illustrating the softer and romantic life Gellhorn and Hemingway had residing in Cuba in the 40s.  I highly recommend this novel.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you for the ARC! I've always wanted to read a Paula McLain book. My library has purchased this title.
Was this review helpful?
FINALLY: a historical novel I can believe in. It's usually difficult to write a historical romance about a (mostly) under-the-radar partner to someone as prolific as Hemingway - but this never left me rolling my eyes or doubting the narrative that McLain has artfully crafted.
Was this review helpful?
I had a bit of trouble getting into this. It was hard for me until Martha started getting more in to the rhythm of being a correspondent, that's why I'm giving three stars instead of four. I did enjoy all the St. Louis references, as I live there and am familiar with all the places mentioned. Hemingway sounds like such an ass. No idea what she saw in him.
Was this review helpful?
Love and Ruin by Paula McLain is the story of Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway.  Set in Spain in the 1930's, the story had a great sense of place.  I found the time period to be the most interesting part of the story.  This is the first book that I have read by this author and I expected a great read.  The character of Martha Gellhorn was difficult to connect with and her life with Hemingway was not as interesting as I expected.  It seemed that the book was written about a detour in Martha's life that she had to overcome to come back to herself and develop her career further.  I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher with no obligations. These opinions are entirely my own.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?