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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-seller.

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 woman ahead of her time 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 her chance to prove herself a worthy journalist in a field dominated by men. There she also finds herself unexpectedly - and unwillingly - falling in love with Ernest Hemingway, a man on his way to becoming a legend.

On the eve of World War II, and set against the turbulent backdrops of Madrid and Cuba, Martha and Ernest's relationship and 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 forge a path as her own woman and writer.

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.

Praise for Love and Ruin:

“In this heart-tugging follow-up [to The Paris Wife], we meet Martha Gellhorn, a correspondent during the Spanish Civil War, who was the third - and perhaps most intriguing - of [Hemingway's] wives. The title says it all.” (People)

“Propulsive...highly engaging.... McLain does an excellent job portraying a woman with dreams who isn’t afraid to make them real.... Her work around the world...is presented in meticulous, hair-raising passages.... The book is fueled by her questing spirit, which asks, Why must a woman decide between being a war correspondent and a wife in her husband’s bed?” (The New York Times Book Review)

“[The] scenes of professional rivalry and seesawing imbalance are some of McLain’s best.... McLain’s legions of fans will relish the inspiration of a gutsy woman who discovers she doesn’t need a man at her side, after all.” (The Boston Globe)

©2018 Paula McLain (P)2018 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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."

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A version of the Hemingway/Gelhorn relationship

Got a little slow about halfway through. Glad they began to focus on Gelhorn's incredible work as a female war correspondent in Europe during WWII. Shows Hemingway as the irrascible character he was: brilliant writer, perhaps incredible lover, but not a particularly good human being. Interesting that their torrid love affair while he was still married that lasted several years, dried up after he divorced wife #2 and married Gelhorn. Apparently he made a better lover than a husband.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding narration

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

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Loved this book!

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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Full Immersion

Once Paula's books have you hooked you cannot put them down. it's as if you become the character experiencing their emotional journey every step of the way. all of her books should be on your "must-read" list.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Over-dramatic lamenting

I read The Paris Wife and thought this would be of the same quality, its not. The over-dramatic lamenting of this character is tedious, much like the lamenting of Bella at the loss of Edward in New Moon. It dragged on the pace of the story and you got lost in her mind vomit. The history happening around her was rarely brought into the book and it really made getting through what should have been a steady stroll in the time and relationship little more than a day-time drama. I wish my library had had this and I hadn't spent a credit on it. The upside to it is that January Lavoy was great as the reader, the writing just wasn't that good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Hemingway's 3rd wife depicted as talented, selfish

This novel is a well researched story about a historical persona, Marty Gelhorn, whose introspective approach to life soured her marriage, while fostering her career as a wartime journalist and author. the narration is excellent. the listener comes to know Marty, with less development around Hemingway.