Love and Ruin

Love and Ruin

The bestselling author of The Paris Wife returns to the subject of Ernest Hemingway in a novel about his passionate, stormy marriage to Martha Gellhorn—a fiercely independent, ambitious young woman who would become one of the greatest war correspondents of the twentieth century   In 1937, twenty-eight-year-old Martha travels alone to Madrid to report on the atrocities of t...

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Title:Love and Ruin
Author:Paula McLain
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Edition Language:English

Love and Ruin Reviews

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

    Happy Publication Day to Love and Ruin!

    Love and Ruin is exactly the kind of historical fiction I can sink my teeth into because of the time period, the characters, the flawless writing, and the tumultuous love story between Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway.

    Hemingway is a favorite author of mine, and I’m always game to learn more about his life. My high school English teacher assigned

    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

    Happy Publication Day to Love and Ruin!

    Love and Ruin is exactly the kind of historical fiction I can sink my teeth into because of the time period, the characters, the flawless writing, and the tumultuous love story between Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway.

    Hemingway is a favorite author of mine, and I’m always game to learn more about his life. My high school English teacher assigned A Farewell to Arms for summer reading, and he was a fan of Hemingway’s works and so enthusiastic to share this reading experience with us that I was quickly enamored, too.

    I related to some aspects of Martha Gellhorn’s character right away. She wants nothing more than to please her father with her writing and for him to see her as a success. Even after his death, this drives her and propels her forward. Martha is a strong and unusual woman, especially for her time. The Author’s Note provides further insight into Martha’s life.

    Martha Gellhorn, a journalist and award winning war correspondent arrested for going to places “in the field” where she was not allowed, is both intriguing and inspiring to me. What transpires in her marriage and its resulting falling apart had me transfixed. Gellhorn and Hemingway compete for jobs, vying for attention and acceptance. At this point, Hemingway’s life is becoming more unwound and unstable. The love and obsession between Martha and Ernest was palpable and electrifying, and as is the case with many marriages and affairs, sometimes from the greatest of highs, the greatest of lows are found in the end.

    Overall, Love and Ruin is a beautifully written account of the non-traditional love story between a formidable woman and a formidable man.

    Thank you to Paula McLain, Random House/Ballantine, and Netgalley for the ARC. Love and Ruin is available now!

  • Tammy

    I confess that I wasn’t a fan of the Paris Wife and I liked Circling the Sun even less but Love and Ruin was a success for me. Historical fiction, this novel chronicles the relationship between Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn whom he met while still married to his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer. I think Gellhorn was the draw for me. I’ve always been fascinated by her bravery and commitment as she became a renowned war correspondent and paved the way for other female reports who followed. Hemingway

    I confess that I wasn’t a fan of the Paris Wife and I liked Circling the Sun even less but Love and Ruin was a success for me. Historical fiction, this novel chronicles the relationship between Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn whom he met while still married to his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer. I think Gellhorn was the draw for me. I’ve always been fascinated by her bravery and commitment as she became a renowned war correspondent and paved the way for other female reports who followed. Hemingway is portrayed as the great American writer at the height of his career and as, by the accounts I’ve read, jerk that he was.

    The love and ruin of their relationship is told from Gellhorn’s point of view. You follow her from her St. Louis roots to Spain, Finland, Czechoslovakia, Paris etc...against the backdrop of war. Unlike Hemingway’s previous two wives, she doesn’t fawn over him. Gellhorn has the chutzpah to retain and fight for her sense of self and pursue her work independently of the great man. It isn’t easy and most of the time it is painful. So, despite my bluster about loathing romance this historical romance worked for me. Upon publication, Love and Ruin will hit all of the bestseller lists. In fact, I’d bet my shoe collection on it and that’s no small wager.

  • Angela M

    4+ stars.

    A good work of historical fiction for me is one in which the author perfectly sets the stage of what is happening around the characters not just with what is specifically happening with them. Starting with the prologue and continuing throughout, Paula McLain does a fabulous job of depicting the time and all of the places and what was happening in the world not just in the private and sometimes not so private world of Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway. Even with this broad view of th

    4+ stars.

    A good work of historical fiction for me is one in which the author perfectly sets the stage of what is happening around the characters not just with what is specifically happening with them. Starting with the prologue and continuing throughout, Paula McLain does a fabulous job of depicting the time and all of the places and what was happening in the world not just in the private and sometimes not so private world of Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway. Even with this broad view of the world with the Spanish Civil War, Paris and London and other places before and during WWII, and even though this is a fictional account, I felt as if I were reading a memoir. Because of this intimate perspective that McLain creates it’s easy to admire Marty’s independence and desire to do “something”.

    Another sure sign of a good work of historical fiction based on a real person for me is that I want to know more about them and I want to get a feel for how well they are portrayed. This was another strength of the book as I found myself taking time to read some online accounts of Gellhorn’s life. They reflect how she is portrayed and what we are told about her in the Author’s Note: “Martha Gellhorn went on to become one of the twentieth century’s most significant and celebrated war correspondents, reporting on virtually every major conflict for sixty years—from the Spanish Civil War to the Bay of Pigs, from Vietnam to El Salvador to Panama, where she covered the invasion at the age of eighty-one. “ She also wrote novels and essay collections.

    The book mostly covers the time that Gellhorn was with Hemingway and while I love several of his novels, there were times it was difficult to read about their relationship. He is portrayed as the scoundrel we know that he could be - cheating on his wives, drinking, needy and self centered. A talented writer with so many issues. Even though Hemingway was married, the truth is that she was a clearly in love with him. I found her to be fascinating, mostly when she is on her own away from him, as she experiences the horrors of war when she goes to Finland, talks to the Russian pows or on Omaha Beach. She really had some guts to do this, in particular at a time when this was not what women did. At best a biographical novel can give a feel of who the person is and I felt as if I got to know the woman Gellhorn was. While Hemingway is, of course a big part of this time in Gellhorn’s life, this was Martha’s story. Thanks once again to my reading buddies Diane and Esil , whose perspectives I always enjoy hearing.

    I received an advanced copy of this book from Ballantine through NetGalley.

  • JanB

    4.5 stars

    This book focuses 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,

    4.5 stars

    This book focuses 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.

    Martha met Hemingway in Key West, and we follow their courtship, affair, and eventual marriage. Hemingway was a brilliant author but in his personal life he was needy and petulant, a bully who demanded his own way. There are only small sections of the book devoted to Hemingway’s POV, and they were very well done. With Martha’s independent streak and travels that kept her away from home for long stretches, it was inevitable they would crash and burn.

    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.

    The best of historical fiction sends me to the internet to research events and people. This book did exactly that. I read articles on Martha and watched a few videos and also looked up some of the wartime events I was unfamiliar with. What an amazing woman. Highly recommended!

    *I received a copy of the book for review from Netgalley

  • Julie

    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 Ma

    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

  • Diane S ☔

    When I first started this, although I enjoyed the history of the Spanish Civil War, I wasn't all too sure I would like this. The writing seemed somewhat emotionless, matter of fact, pragmatic,but then something changed. I found Martha fascinating, and the descriptions of Cuba were gorgeous, and I settles into this novel. So much history is covered, Gelhorn determined to be everywhere and chronicle everything, all the while dealing with Hemingway and his mood changes,and trying to write her own b

    When I first started this, although I enjoyed the history of the Spanish Civil War, I wasn't all too sure I would like this. The writing seemed somewhat emotionless, matter of fact, pragmatic,but then something changed. I found Martha fascinating, and the descriptions of Cuba were gorgeous, and I settles into this novel. So much history is covered, Gelhorn determined to be everywhere and chronicle everything, all the while dealing with Hemingway and his mood changes,and trying to write her own book.

    This was a read with Angela and Esil, and these are just some thoughts I posted during our discussion.

    Hemingway was in many ways his own worst enemy. He was bipolar, his drinking didn't help, and he honestly could not be alone. He was,however, a talented man and did his best to love his sons.

    Martha was amazing, such drive, all the places and battles she personally saw and wrote about. Glad she had the guts and fortitude to leave him, though she did love him. McClain did a great job here, detailing her inner struggle to be something for herself. Hemingway woukd have sucked her dry. She was the only wife who would leave him.

    The author note was wonderful and how much she admired Martha shone through.

    So I ended up liking this more than I thought I would and enjoyed watching Martha gain confidence and come into her own.

    ARC from Netgalley.

    Found this picture

  • Thomas

    4 stars

    Thanks to Ballantine Books and NetGalley for sending me this e ARC.

    This book is a fictionalized story of the relationship/marriage/divorce between Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway. Martha was Hemingway's 3rd wife. They started an affair while Hemingway was still married to his 2nd wife. Until I read this book, I was not aware that she wrote several books, in addition to being one of the first woman war journalists. She covered wars from the Spanish civil war to Vietnam and Panama.

    The

    4 stars

    Thanks to Ballantine Books and NetGalley for sending me this e ARC.

    This book is a fictionalized story of the relationship/marriage/divorce between Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway. Martha was Hemingway's 3rd wife. They started an affair while Hemingway was still married to his 2nd wife. Until I read this book, I was not aware that she wrote several books, in addition to being one of the first woman war journalists. She covered wars from the Spanish civil war to Vietnam and Panama.

    The book describes Hemingway as a very selfish man. He may have been a brilliant writer, but he was also an alcoholic and an insecure womanizer. Gellhorn was mesmerized by his brilliance but rebelled against his domineering need for her. When she went off on a war reporting assignment without him after several years of marriage, Hemingway found another woman and divorced Gellhorn. Gellhorn was the only 1 of his wives to leave him and he never forgave her.

    Some quotes: Spanish civil war siege of Madrid "Since the previous November, when Franco had locked his sights on destroying the capital, nearly every day had brought fire and death. But most Madrilenos had still refused to leave."

    Martha on Ernest and Martha's first sexual encounter: "The trees bent in and the whole night did, too, and whatever part of me could usually hold to reason was washed away."

    Martha on ending her marriage: "In moments, I'd been kicked out of love and was alone again."

  • Dorie  - Traveling Sister :)

    This novel chronicles the journalistic rise of Martha Gellhorn and her relationship with Ernest Hemingway. Maybe I’ve just read too many books about Hemingway and those that he loved, hurt, destroyed, etc. but this book was just an average read for me.

    Ms. Gellhorn was still struggling to find her career path when she and her family met Hemingway while in vacation in Key West, Florida. He convinces her to come to Spain with him and report on the civil war going on there, she is able to secure a

    This novel chronicles the journalistic rise of Martha Gellhorn and her relationship with Ernest Hemingway. Maybe I’ve just read too many books about Hemingway and those that he loved, hurt, destroyed, etc. but this book was just an average read for me.

    Ms. Gellhorn was still struggling to find her career path when she and her family met Hemingway while in vacation in Key West, Florida. He convinces her to come to Spain with him and report on the civil war going on there, she is able to secure a press pass and joins him there. It is while here that she gets her first taste of war correspondence and she likes it. Ernest makes a play for her and even though he is still married to Pauline Pfeiffer with whom he has two sons, they begin a love affair.

    The interesting part of this book for me was Ms. Gellhorn and her accomplishments. I was so impressed that I spent hours looking up files about her on the internet and it made for interesting reading. I found that she had such a long career that she covered everything from the Spanish Civil War, Vietnam, the wars in El Salvador and Panama. She truly had a love of traveling and getting the story out. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t know that she had published novels, but I plan to check them out.

    The love affair, then marriage and then “ruin” of her time with Hemingway seemed like a repeat of so much I had read about him and his exploits before that all I felt was relief when Martha finally divorces him and lives her own life.

    Of the three books that I’ve read by Ms. McLain I think this is probably my favorite and I would certainly look forward to the next novel by this talented author.

    I received an ARC of this novel from publisher through NetGalley.

  • Tucker

    Paula McLain is an outstanding historical fiction writer, and her three most recent novels have transported me to a vividly recreated time and place with very real and well-drawn characters. “Circling The Sun” was one of my favorite books of 2015. However, because “Love and Ruin” and “The Paris Wife” highlighted Hemingway’s abysmal treatment of women, particularly his wives, those books weren’t a comfortable read for me. That’s no reflection on McLain’s writing skill, in fact it’s a testament to

    Paula McLain is an outstanding historical fiction writer, and her three most recent novels have transported me to a vividly recreated time and place with very real and well-drawn characters. “Circling The Sun” was one of my favorite books of 2015. However, because “Love and Ruin” and “The Paris Wife” highlighted Hemingway’s abysmal treatment of women, particularly his wives, those books weren’t a comfortable read for me. That’s no reflection on McLain’s writing skill, in fact it’s a testament to it. The pain that Hemingway caused Martha and Hadley was written so realistically that I frequently wanted to punch Hemingway in the face, or some other body part. When I could put Hemingway’s behavior in the back of my mind and focus on Martha (and Hadley), I really enjoyed both “Love and Ruin” and “The Paris Wife.”

    Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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