Love and Ruin

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Jun 2018

Member Reviews

2.5 Stars

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for supplying me this ARC in exchange for a honest review. 

This book has high reviews, and I am in the minority on this one.  I so wanted to enjoy this book.  After a month of on again off again reading, I barely finished.  For me, this book was extremely slow, picked up with high hopes, and let me down again.  I truly wanted to like Martha, who ended up being Ernest Hemingway’s third wife.  I have read other books by this author and loved them – just not this one.
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This is a favorite author as she writes with such masterful talent that her stories captivate the reader. This is a fascinating story of Ernest Hemingway's third wife.. She was a women who exceeded him in career accomplishments and was a woman before her time.. I loved reading of her successes and her independent spirit. I am glad this is a author who writes of strong women and does not underscore their accomplishments in the least. 
Martha Gellhorn was a respected  person for her time. She was a war correspondent for 60 years, and an author in her own right, but in the times they lived women were not considered little more then property and her work was not valued over her husbands. 

The reader is swept along as  Martha travels as a correspondent to  the Spanish Civil War, and the events leading up to WWII. She was very driven, independent, and adventurous, but also deeply compassionate and very drawn to the untold stories of the suffering of  people. Her first-person narration  is what makes this book so riveting, She was the only woman to land at Normandy on D-Day, and was among the first journalists to report from the Dachau concentration camp. She is a fascinating subject of history and I thank the author for this historical account of her fascinating life. This is a book i highly recommend. 
Thank you for the ARC which does not influence my personal opinion.
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Love and Ruin by Paula McLain tells us the story of Ernest Hemingway and his marriages to, war journalist Martha Gellhorn, his third wife. This book was beautifully written and captivating. I enjoyed the storyline and how Martha wouldn't let her marriage deny her the life she desired. This book is sad and also inspiring. It tells the story of Ernest Hemingway and his marriage that I hadn't known about before. I liked that it is tells how Martha wouldn't let her career take a backseat to that of her husbands. 

I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a review copy of the book. All opinions expressed are my own.
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This author is such a good writer, Immersing you into the story from the beginning. 
This story is a about the tumultuous life and love between Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, who became his third wife and it was a romance that challenged them both.
When Martha and her family went down to Key West they met Hemingway in a bar and they became fast friends, he showed them around the keys and introduced them to his family, she was fascinated by him and they had a common bond of writing, he became something of a mentor.
He went to Spain to be a correspondent during the Spanish Civil war and Martha who wanting to be a reporter as well, found a way to go with credentials from Collier Magazine. Here they finally let their passion start, although Hemingway was still married. 
They ended up with their main residence in Cuba, where Ernest had already been living part time to write. They bought a little farm and made it theirs, and here the two writers were able to be creative in their own spaces. Both became restless from time to time and would go off on their own to follow a story. Gellhorn loved being a war correspondent and had a gift of finding the human interest story in all of the horror around her.
It was a story that had me hooked from the start, the ups and downs of there relationship was fascinating to follow, each strong headed and at times not willing to compromise. I loved the family aspect of it, when Hemingway's sons would visit them, and the close relationship they all had. 
There are a lot of wonderful characters in this book to read about. 
I look forward to her next book.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Random House Publishing group – Ballantine for the ARC of this book.
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Love and Ruin by Paula McLain is a historical fiction book that focuses on on Ernest Hemingway’s third wife, Martha Gellhorn. Martha was a respected and celebrated person with many accomplishments. She was a war correspondent for 60 years, and an author in her own right, but the times were such that Ernest Hemingway often overshadowed her.

The best parts of the book are Martha's travels as a correspondent, along with the descriptions of the Spanish Civil War, and the events leading up to WWII. She was very driven, independent, and adventurous, but was also empathetic and drawn to the untold stories of the suffering of ordinary people. She was at her best and most alive when she was at the front lines in the midst of the action, and her first-person narration was riveting. Among many other accomplishments she was the only woman to land at Normandy on D-Day, and was among the first journalists to report from the Dachau concentration camp.

Love and Ruin was the perfect title for this book. My one complaint is it got a little angsty at times when talking about their relationship and it began to wear thin. But it still gets all the stars for highlighting Martha's career and accomplishments.

I give this book 4/5 stars

Thank you to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine and Ballantine Books via NetGalley for the opportunity to review this wonderful book.
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While none of Paula McLain's books will equal Circling the Sun for me, this was an enlightening and well-written story about a woman we should all know about, but few do. Martha Gellhorn was feisty, courageous, strong-willed, and determined, in both her personal and professional lives. Ms. McClain’s vivid imagery really gives you a sense of the horrors that Martha faced while covering a war, as well as the beauty of the home she made with Hemingway. I loved finding out about this remarkable woman, and I applaud her gumption. I highly recommend this to those who love historical fiction that will make you want to know more! Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for my review copy. This is my honest opinion.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Random House/Ballentine Books for a free review copy of this book!

4 stars! Paul McLain again captures the essence of Hemingway's love life in Love and Ruin, much like she did in The Paris Wife.  McLain most effectively depicts the persona and internal struggle of the enigmatic Martha Gellhorn, showcasing her tenacity to make a name for herself and the effects of her drive on her marriage to Ernest Hemingway.  Heartbreaking, but excellent read!
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This novel tracks the relationship of Hemmingway to his third wife, the famed war journalist Martha Gellhorn.  

Ms McLain takes us along from their initial meeting while Martha is on family vacation in Key West following the death of her father, to the Spanish Civil War where Hemmingway has encouraged her to follow him as her mentor and wastes no time making her his lover.  Their life together in the lushness of Cuba, to the vastness wilderness of Wyoming.  This relationship is a tumultuous journey of passion, love, and personal and professional jealous between two childish, selfish, volatile people which could only end exactly as it does. 

Ms McLain is a beautiful writer of great talent.  I only wish she could find more likeable characters to bring to life.
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8470359
Roxy Klepperich's review Jun 16, 2018  ·  edit
really liked it

I received this book through Netgalley. I knew nothing of Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway’s relationship. What a fascinating woman. Love and Ruin is the perfect title for their relationship. Great read that was fast moving, but let you get to "know" them. Highly recommend.
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I read The Paris Wife earlier this year for a book club and really enjoyed it, so when I found out the same author was writing another book about another one of Hemingway's four wives I knew I had to read it. In addition to learning about Martha Gelhorn's life and her relationship with Ernest Hemingway in Love and Ruin, I love that the reader also learns so much about history and the way of life at that time. Marty Gelhorn is a young writer and journalist when she walks into a bar in Key West with her mom and brother. The other patron at the bar is Hemingway and the rest is history.


I love, love, love this book. It is definitely a slower read for me than most other books. I feel like reading it is like an afternoon down a lazy river and the end of it finishes with low-level whitewater rapids. It feels as real as can be and makes me feel that McLain did the best job when researching for this book. Neither book paints Hemingway in a favorable light but it does feel really honest. I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in Hemingway or lady adventurers, because she goes on some wild rides.
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Martha Gellhorn is so much more than just another one of Ernest Hemingway’s wives.  This book delves into their relationship and gives good reminders at how broken Hemingway truly was.  I wanted to keep reading about Martha when their relationship soured (and eventually ended).  Google helped me find out a lot about her and wow such an impressive resume.  
Paula McLain is definitely one of those historical fiction writer’s who makes me happy when they take well known historical figures but show you so much more about them AND the people who helped make them who they were.
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I love historical fiction and loved Circling the Sun.  I was intrigued to learn more about the relationship between Hemingway and his 3rd wife and how that came about.  I learned so much about her like she was also an author and the first woman war journalist.  Reading this book made me not like Hemingway even more than before (although I do like his writing).  The book just didn't grab me like Circling the Sun.  I got more out of the final notes section in the back...
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I want to thank the publisher and author for gifting me with a digital copy of this book via netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

 I was so excited to get my hands on this as I had read The Paris Wife and loved it. Ms. McLain is a very talented writer and has obviously put a lot of time into researching the Hemingways for her novels. I learned so much about Ernest Hemingway and his wives. I don't agree with how he chose to live and how he treated his wives, but I thoroughly enjoyed learning his story and how his novels came to be.  Wife number three is the focus of this novel and her story alone is a fascinating read. She also didn't make the best decisions in her relationships, but she was a strong, brave, independent woman who paved a path for women in journalism. I want to look up her writing now, both her posts for Couliers magazine about the Spanish and World Wars and her novels. McLain did such a good job of allowing us to see the Hemingways as people with strengths and flaws as well as a look into their literary legacies. I don't like how their story ended and was disappointed in the end of the novel- but not due to Ms. McLain in anyway. My disappoint and sadness lies fully on Ernest and Martha. Great read though that I would recommend to others.
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Love and Ruin by Paula McLain. Up close and personal with Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn. First I thought, “Homewrecker!” Then I read a story of a tenacious woman. Brilliant writer. A woman of bravery who was a war correspondent during gruesome conflicts. Their love lived deeply in the moment. Spain. On the Pilar. In Cuba. When she was moved to follow her own path Hemingway could not bear the inattention to his needs. McClain writes history with a personal touch. #LoveandRuin #netgalley
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Paula McLain is known for her amazing writing and this book is no different! It was written so beautifully and with so much poise!

The characters in this story had so much to offer and made the storyline that much better with everything they added.
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I did not enjoy this book enough to finish it. It to me was boring. I’m not really that interested in Hemingway so it just was not my kind of book. I’m very sorry. I am sure others will like it much better.
Thank you for the chance to read it though.
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This review has been completed as a thank you to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review Love and Ruin by Paula McLain. Love and Ruin follows Martha Gellhorn who is known in history as the third wife of Ernest Hemmingway. A journalist at her core Gellhorn's story is one of passion and conviction. The experiences she had in her life are something out of a film for her personal story was larger than life. In reading this novel, I am tempted to examine her works and am glad I have been given an in-depth perspective to this woman who not only witnessed history, but was a part of it herself. The novel begins in 1937, and shows Gellhorn assessing her role as a journalist and the type of journalist she hopes to be. The central storyline, or relationship for me was the one Gellhorn had with herself. I enjoyed that aspect of the novel, and found her association with Hemmingway to be a bonus. Overall the  writing was impeccable and detailed. I felt as if I were experiencing these key moments in history, but experienced the leading character not as much as I would have liked. I would have liked to have learned more about this woman and her experience past Hemmingway. I guess it left me wanting more, and that is a pretty good place to be concerning historical fiction for these characters not only lived, but were apart of history itself. I recommend the novel for fans of Hemmingway, in-depth examinations of World War II, and of course Martha Gellhorn herself. I give this novel 3 out of 5 stars for its ability to keep me engaged and impeccable writing style.
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A wonderful tale of a fascinating life. McLain masterfully paints the larger world surrounding the protagonist without losing focus on the life she's telling us about. So often single-protagonist historical fiction loses clarity because an author uses too wide a lens to convey a sense of the times or too narrow of one to hone in on the character. This book is perfection though as Marty's life walks us through the beginning and mid 20th century from the Spanish Civil War of the late 1930s through the Normandy invasion of 1944. 

It's impossible not to cheer her on when she doubts herself or to be amazed by the gumption and grit she personally has. The danger she submitted to in order to get her story out is admirable and it makes a lasting impression. Hemingway's treatment of her and his other wives highlights the opposite end of the spectrum: a great talent for understanding fictional people which does not translate well to real life relationships. 

At first I wondered why McLain chose to focus on this segment of Marty's life and not a part of it when she wasn't attached to Hemingway. These, however, are the formative years of Marty's life. In this time she finds her voice as both a writer and a reporter and makes a name for herself as both. She just happened to to that while involved with Hemingway; it's not because of him but his influence on her emotional state is a big factor in her growth.

As was with her life, her marriage with Hemingway was only part of the story. What I found most refreshing about the plot was that we are offered views of Marty in every piece of her life: as a daughter, an independent woman, a writer, a reporter, a wife, and a stepmother. All of these blended together round out this fascinating story of a very real woman with her own accomplished life. 

Note: I received a free Kindle edition of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher Random House Ballantine, and the author Paula McLain.
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I am a Paula McClain fan, as she is the one who originally turned me onto Ernest Hemingway's life and writings in her brilliant portrayal of Hadley in The Paris Wife. I thought McClain would never be able to top The Paris Wife in my heart, but with the release of Love and Ruin, that is exactly what she has done. I must say, however, that my opinion of the author himself has worsened. What a raw, honest picture of what the fascinating Martha Gellhorn must've endured as his wife. Thank you, NetGalley, for a chance to read this advance copy.
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While I thought the ending was interesting, the rest of the book didn't work for me. Not only did I not enjoy reading about Hemingway, I found quite a bit of the writing to be overly sappy. The parts with the war scenes were strong but were overshadowed by the rest of the story. I did have a hard time connecting with Marty and just didn't enjoy reading about Hemingway's appalling treatment of women and his lack of fidelity.
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