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review 2019-03-13 03:11
Love and Ruin
Love and Ruin - Paula McLain

I don’t think Paula McLain can stop herself from writing about Hemingway. Seriously, when she spoke at our library author lunch, I’m pretty sure she admitted to being a teensy bit obsessed with him. Thankfully, this time around Hemingway’s mystique is completely eclipsed by the powerhouse journalist Martha Gelhorn, who unfortunately gets mixed up with the hard driving author on the cusp of stardom. The book’s summary uses words like “unexpectedly” and “uncontrollably”, which makes Gelhorn seem a helpless debutante, which she is decidedly not. But what was it with Hemingway and all these women who gave up their lives, homes, and careers for him? That is some amazing charisma…or something. Anyway, this is a woman worthy of her own story, and I was mildly disappointed that McLain chose to tie her life forever to Hemingway’s, especially when such a small part of her success came when they were together. Nevertheless, McLain can craft a compelling story, and I will keep reading her books as long as she continues to find intriguing historical subjects like this that inspire, enlighten, and entertain.

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review 2018-07-17 16:13
Love and Ruin
Love and Ruin - Paula McLain
I knew nothing about Martha (Marty) Gellhorn before I started reading this novel but I learned a great deal about her and her marriage to Ernest Hemingway. With great detail about the time period surrounding WWII, Marty wanted to make her mark in the world as a writer and she would stop at nothing to do so.
As I read this novel, Marty’s fathers last words were always on the back of my mind and I had to wonder if perhaps, they were part of Marty’s driving force. They stung when they were spoken but I felt they were spoken out of love and the desire for Marty to aim high. Marty was a strong, determined lady, which not everyone appreciated in a woman in this time period. As her books went to print, she wouldn’t settle and be content with what she had accomplished, she wanted more.
Her idol was the famous writer, Ernest Hemingway, and when she met him on vacation with her family, she was speechless. Thinking life couldn’t get any better, she discovered that Ernest actually had read her novel and he wanted HER autograph. Ernest was traveling overseas to report on the war and he asked Marty to join him. This sounded like a terrific opportunity for Marty: a chance for her to write and be with the famous writer, so she travels as Ernest companion.
With the front so close to their rooms, Ernest found himself at Marty’s door checking on her welfare. It seems innocent enough but before that trip was over, the two of them were in a relationship. Wow, if only Ernest wasn’t married with children.
Returning home, they both continued to write but the war was calling and they both left again to continue their coverage on the war. They are so right for each other and yet so wrong. As the war blazed away in the background, the lovers mixed their work with play. Ernest was leading two lives and he had to choose what life he wanted to lead and I knew someone was going to get hurt in the end.
Between writing books and stories about the war, Marty and Ernest passion and desire with each other took centerstage. Each character underwent a transformation to arrive at their final resting place.
I really enjoyed the details that the author included inside this novel. The emotions and the drive that the characters felt is relived through the novel and they created a momentum within the novel. I enjoyed reading this novel and I highly recommend it.


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text 2018-07-16 23:44
Almost finished
Love and Ruin - Paula McLain

The dirty, rotten slime ball!  


Marty (Martha) is a go- getter but now, I think she needs to take him to the vet. 

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review 2018-05-28 15:43
If you like McLain, you will like it.
Love and Ruin - Paula McLain

Love and Ruin, Paula McLain, author, January LaVoy, narrator

I have enjoyed reading the author’s previous books, but this one left me a bit cold. I did like it, but only as a beach read, or perhaps chick lit, which I do not prefer.

This novel is billed as historic fiction, but it grows more into a romance. It is about the supposed relationship between Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn. Although much younger than he, she, an aspiring writer, is enamored completely by him, his fame and reputation. After her father dies, she goes on a trip to Spain with her grieving mother. There, in Barcelona, they encounter Hemingway at a bar. According to McLain, he engages them in conversation, and voila, they are smitten.

After she goes home to America with her mom, he gets in touch with her and encourages her to return to Spain to cover the war and to be with him. Hitler will soon march across Europe. He gives her hints on how to wangle her way there under the auspices of a publisher. She knows he is married and has met both his wife and their daughter; this knowledge does not dissuade her from crossing the sea and having an affair with him, nor did it dissuade his current second wife from taking him from his first wife.

At times, Martha seems painfully naïve, and at other times, she seems to be a woman of the world as she pulls off her charades and manipulates situations to enable her to return to Europe, to both be with Ernest and to cover the action. Although there are interesting moments like her involvement with Eleanor Roosevelt and the tidbits about the war, with she and Ernest falling into each other’s arms as bombs fell, I found it to be largely a love story about two people who felt irresistibly drawn to each other when they met. I wondered at Gellhorn’s mindset as she surely must have realized that once married and cheated, then twice married and cheated, the thrice married was not going to be the charm to bring about permanency in Ernest’s lovelife. He was still going to cheat.

***About half way through the book, I inadvertently erased it from my listening device. I have to wonder if it was an unconscious desire to discontinue the book. I did not like the way Gellhon was portrayed as a shrinking violet at times and as a sophisticated woman of interacting with the rich and famous, at others. I wondered if she was using Hemingway and hanging onto his coattails for the purpose of furthering her own career, which it inevitably did. The portrayal of Hemingway as a letch and terribly disorderly character disturbed my romantic image of him as a charming lover sought by many women.

The book felt melodramatic to me, and although I did put myself back on the wait list at the library to get the book and finish it, I am not sure that I will be motivated to do so when it comes due. I have an ebook, so perhaps I will take another look at that. At any rate, if you like chick lit, and you like this author and don’t expect too much from the book, you will like it.

***I decided to finish the book, but my conclusion is the same as before. It is not up to McLain’s other books. It is chick lit. The war bits and the history make the book more palatable, but the romance and dialogue between Hemingway and Gellhorn seem very hackneyed. The prose was not inspiring which made the novel’s authenticity questionable for me.

The idea that a serial cheater is more in love with Martha, than she is with him, seemed disingenuous. Does anyone really know the truth about that? He certainly had a lot of wives. I felt that McLain made Gellhorn too large a presence in his life and made her too large a presence, period. She seemed so immature at times, and yet her war correspondent life defied that image.


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text 2018-04-17 05:48
Love and Ruin by Paula McLain
Love and Ruin - Paula McLain
I am at a loss for words, to convey how amazing Paula McLain's 
Love and Ruin is. While I have read Ernest Hemingway's novels,
I had no idea what a troubled life he lived.
Totally fascinating and so well written that I felt
sure Mrs McClain was with Hem and Martha, when all this took place.
Definitely 5 stars from page one to the end.
Her author notes had me in tears.
I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys historical fiction.
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