"She remembered when Hemingway had planted a banyan tree at his house and told her its parasitic roots were like human desire. At the time she'd thought it romantic. She hadn't understood his warning."
In Depression-era Key West, Mariella Bennet, the daughter of an American fisherman and a Cuban woman, knows hunger. Her struggle to support her family following her father's death leads her to a bar and bordello, where she bets on a risky boxing match...and attracts the interest of two men: world-famous writer Ernest Hemingway, and Gavin Murray, one of the World War I veterans who are laboring to build the Overseas Highway.
When Mariella is hired as a maid by Hemingway's second wife, Pauline, she enters a rarified world of lavish, celebrity-filled dinner parties and elaborate off-island excursions. As she becomes caught up in the tensions and excesses of the Hemingway household, the attentions of the larger-than-life writer become a dangerous temptation...even as straightforward Gavin Murray draws her back to what matters most.
Will she cross an invisible line with the volatile Hemingway, or find a way to claim her own dreams? As a massive hurricane bears down on Key West, Mariella faces some harsh truths...and the possibility of losing everything she loves.
©2012 Erika Robuck (P)2013 Tantor
"[Fans] will delight in the complex relationships and vivid setting." (Publishers Weekly)
I am both a fan of Hemingway and in love with the island of Key West, so I was very much looking forward to a good story that wove both together. However, I was sadly disappointed by this book. First off, the narrator's sharp enunciation was immediately and incredibly annoying-like listening to a 1940s news cast (or a boxing match, which could have been appropriate only at certain points) the whole way through. Bad enough that I wanted to stop listening 10 minutes in, but I decided to give the story a chance. However, Robuck's prose was also a disappointment. Key West is such a vivid tropical locale, and I found the descriptions to be sadly sparse. The plot and characters were all too predictable-I won't spoil it for those of you who are determined to have a go, but I will tell you that you can guess it all from the first chapter. If you want to read a super fluffy love story featuring a "Mary Sue" protagonist and a larger than life love interest, go for it. But for those of us who dare hope for a little bit more, something gritty and deep and true--"Hemingway's Girl" lacks "aficion".
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