Book Review: Love & Ruin by Paula McClain

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Paula McClain truly wraps and weaves you into the world of Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn with her newest novel, Love and Ruin.

Marty Gellhorn is a woman of courage and tenacity. She is a writer by trade and throws her all into her work. She is continuously let down by the men in her life, including her distant father, who sees her work and love life as self destructive. After her father passes away, Marty and family travel to Key West. They meet Ernest Hemingway at a local bar by chance, and he and Marty start a friendship that completely changes her life, in more ways than one.

This novel covers many years, including the years Marty and Ernest spend as war correspondents. While I know this was an essential part of the story, it was the only part that did not completely hold my attention. McClain’s writing is truly wonderful. The descriptions are elegant and intriguing, especially the scenes set in the house Marty and Ernest shared in Cuba. The relationships Marty had with Ernest’s children were beautiful and nurturing, an aspect that can’t be ignored from the story. Even the relationship between Marty and Ernest was raw and beautiful, although at times very trying.

Towards the end of the book we go through the demise of Marty and Ernest’s relationship, one that would free Marty but show the beginning of the end of Ernest Hemingway. It was tough to read after many pages overflowing with their partnership, but it was done well. It showed the true courage of Marty, which I believe was the best outcome of a sad ending.

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