Love and Ruin
by McLain, Paula

The best-selling author of The Paris Wife returns to her fan-favorite subject, Ernest Hemingway, in a tale set on the eve of World War II that is inspired by his passionate, stormy marriage to a fiercely independent, ambitious young Martha Gellhorn, who would become one of the 20th century's leading war correspondents.

Paula McLain is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Love and Ruin, Circling the Sun, The Paris Wife, and A Ticket to Ride, the memoir Like Family: Growing Up in Other People’s Houses, and two collections of poetry. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, O: The Oprah Magazine, Town & Country, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere. She lives in Ohio with her family.

*Starred Review* Ernest Hemingway inspired McLain to write three enthralling historical novels about strong, adventurous women. The Paris Wife (2011) reimagines the story of the first Mrs. Hemingway, Hadley Richardson. Circling the Sun (2015) is based on aviator and author Beryl Markham, whom Hemingway much admired. Here McLain portrays the heroic and gifted war correspondent and writer Martha Gellhorn struggling to remain true to herself and her calling as she becomes Hemingway's third wife, while his fame is resurgent and the world erupts in war. Called Marty, she is courageous, empathic, committed, and creative, both admired and belittled for her beauty. McLain has perfected her dramatic and lyrical approach to biographical fiction, lacing Marty's ardent inner life into electrifying descriptions of place and action. Marty dodges shells and witnesses the deaths of children in the Spanish Civil War, travels rough in war-torn China, aids wounded soldiers as the first journalist and only woman in the "horror and chaos" of D-Day on Omaha Beach, translates her harrowing experiences into vivid dispatches, and, however briefly, revels in hers and Ernest's Cuban paradise. McLain brings forth the deepest, most ringing elements of both "love and ruin," the two poles of Marty and Ernest's tempestuous relationship, a ferocious contest between two brilliant, willful, and intrepid writers. McLain's fast-moving, richly insightful, heart-wrenching, and sumptuously written tale pays exhilarating homage to its truly exceptional and significant inspiration.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: An all-fronts publicity campaign, augmented by a 15-city author tour, will ensure fervent interest in best-selling McLain's timely novel about a historic journalist. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Having focused on Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley Richardson, in The Paris Wife (2011), McLain now turns to his third, writer Martha Gellhorn. As she did with Hadley and with Beryl Markham in Circling the Sun (2015), McLain closely follows previously published biographical material to create her novel. A journalist who landed with the troops at Omaha Beach and the author of books of fiction and nonfiction as well as a play, Gellhorn is considered one of the most important war correspondents of the 20th century. But when she meets Hemingway in late 1936 in a Key West bar at the beginning of this novel, she's in her late 20s and has just published her first book. Ernest is 10 years older and still married to second wife Pauline. Having been burned by an affair with a married man, Martha insists that her deepening friendship with Ernest is purely platonic. The reader is not fooled despite their banal, Hemingway-esque dialogue. Ernest's plan to travel to Spain to cover the civil war there ignites Martha's sense of purpose and adventure. With his encouragement, she lands in Madrid, where she finds her calling as a journalist—the scene in which she witnesses a child's death is genuinely powerful—and the two writers begin an affair. Once Franco wins, Martha joins Ernest for an idyllic life in Cuba that's filled with writing and romance. Pauline remains in Key West, that marriage in tatters. But by the time Martha marries Ernest in 1940, she worries that her husband's oversized personality, magnetism, and talent might crush her own spirit and ambition. They don't, but his selfish childishness, competitiveness, and vindictiveness make their relationship untenable. Martha comes across as one tough cookie, Ernest as a great writer but a small man. This elegant if oddly bloodless narrative is a good introduction for those who know nothing of Gellhorn, but it basically rehashes information and sentiments already available in that writer's o w n memoir and published letters. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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