Paula McLain's new novel, Love & Ruin, recounts Martha Gellhorn's stormy marriage to Ernest Hemingway, and her painful decision to step out of his shadow and forge her own brilliant career as a war correspondent.
In 1937, courageous and independent Martha Gellhorn travels to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War, and finds herself drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in devastating conflict. She also finds herself unexpectedly - and uncontrollably - falling in love with Ernest Hemingway, a man already on his way to being a legend. In the shadow of the impending Second World War, and set against the tumultuous backdrops of Madrid, Finland, China, and especially Cuba, where Martha and Hemingway made their home, their relationship and professional careers ignite.
But when Hemingway publishes the biggest literary success of his career, they are no longer equals, and Martha must make a choice: surrender to the suffocating demands of a domestic lifestyle, or risk losing her husband by forging her way as her own woman and writer. It is a dilemma that will force her to break his heart, and her own.
Based on a true story
Martha Gellhorn was one of the greatest war correspondents of the 20th century
FOR WHOM THE BELLS TOLLS was dedicated to Martha, and inspired by the time they were together in Spain. It was Hemingway's most successful book to date, it sold half a million copies within months, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and triumphantly reestablished his literary reputation
Romance, infidelity, war-Paula McLain's powerhouse novel has it all - Glamour
Beautifully written and, if you want to get a sense of this extraordinary woman, then it is a perfect introduction - Daily Mail
Love and Ruin makes for captivating reading, and Gellhorn's a most worthy subject for McLain's skilful portraiture - Independent
Paula McLain has a rare gift for bringing history alive . . . Fast paced and compelling, this is a novel that screams out to be filmed, the bantering insolent dialogue and the sparring partner protagonists reminiscent of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in the film of To Have And Have Not. A complex heartbreaker of a love story that makes for an enthralling read - Sunday Express
Paula McLain received an MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan and has been awarded fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is the author of two collections of poetry, as well as a memoir, Like Family. Her novels include The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun. She lives in Cleveland with her family.