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Publisher's Summary

The best-selling 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 20th century

In 1937, 28-year-old Martha Gellhorn travels alone to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War and becomes drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in the devastating conflict. It's the adventure she's been looking for and her chance to prove herself a worthy journalist in a field dominated by men. But she also finds herself unexpectedly - and uncontrollably - falling in love with Hemingway, a man on his way to becoming a legend.

In the shadow of the impending Second World War, and set against the turbulent backdrops of Madrid and Cuba, Martha and Ernest's relationship and their professional careers ignite. But when Ernest publishes the biggest literary success of his career, For Whom the Bell Tolls, they are no longer equals, and Martha must make a choice: surrender to the confining demands of being a famous man's wife or risk losing Ernest by forging a path as her own woman and writer. It is a dilemma that could force her to break his heart, and hers.

Heralded by Ann Patchett as "the new star of historical fiction", Paula McLain brings Gellhorn's story richly to life and captures her as a heroine for the ages: a woman who will risk absolutely everything to find her own voice.

©2018 Paula McLain (P)2018 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Reflection and Immersion

This book showed the strengths of two capable people with amazing accomplishments and self doubts. Hemingway's tale has been told and retold. This portrayal of Martha Gellhorn is rich and illuminating. Upon reflection, I didn't know whether to identify with Martha or Ernest. But by the end, it was Martha the brave and capable women. I was so grateful to have learned about her in this special book, by Paula McLain. The first person narratives brought her and the others to life. I would recommend this book to the strongest woman in my life. I think it would give her more strength and a greater ability to love life.
I will now seek Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn books on Audible to immerse further.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Outstanding narration

Outstanding narration of an excellent and passionate novel. Gellhorn’s life and work should be better known

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved this book!

I loved this book. Great writing and story.
It is interesting to follow history as well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wonderful read

I loved this book - well written, insightful and absorbing. The reader was terrific too b

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Doomed Romance

This couple's (Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn) relationship seemed doomed from the beginning. Martha should have followed her original instincts and not married Ernest. Both parties were at fault for the failure of this marriage, but in this book, Gellhorn appeared to be quite self-centered. I didn't care for her constant, "but what about me and my career" attitude. It is hard for me to like a book, if I do not like the personality of the main characters. I listened to the audible version of this book and enjoyed the narrator's "Hemingway voice."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautifully written and narrated

I love all of Paula McLain's books. She has an unparalleled ability to get to the soul of her characters. She also gets to the heart of the dilemma faced by women with ambition of any era. I felt like I was right there along Martha from first meeting Ernest all the way through all her war reporting and the breakup of their marriage.
I'd also like to give a shout out to the narrator. I enjoyed everything about this book.

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SHE DID IT!!

Paula McLain actually authored a better novel of one of Hemingway’s “wives” than her previous “The Paris Wife”!!!!
I thought that book was amazing, sad, thought provoking, open and honest and it left me in that empty place. The one where you just CAN’T start another novel even though you want to!
The Paris Wife put me there for quite awhile and that is difficult to do because I’m always listening to a book.. PERIOD!
BUT, this one - Love and Ruin - told in first person “Martha Gellhorn” was phenomenal!
I just finished and I want to know so much more about Martha Gellhorn! At least I can find biographies and books about her and by her.
However, even with all that I feel back in that empty place.
Paula McLain is the kind of author that just knows how to leave me that way.

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Outstanding

This title was exceptional in every way. Martha Gelhorn was certainly an interesting and admirable character. How she got stuck w/ Hemingway is anybody's guess.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Narrator

I thought this was a middle of the road book. If I had read it instead of listening to it my opinion may be different. I did not feel like the voice of the narrator contributed to the story and did not reflect the qualities I imagined Gellhorn to have therefore I did not really connect with the story.