Bestselling author, Paul McClain returns to the subject of Hemingway in LOVE AND RUIN (BallantineBooks) a novel about his passionate, stormy marriage to Martha Gellhorn – a fierercly independent, ambitious young woman who would become one of the greatest war correspondents of the 20th Century.
LOVE AND RUIN includes several things I’m absolutely in love with. First Ernest Hemingway. I remember reading his short story, HILLS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTS in junior high-school. It was the first time, I fully recognized the power of the written word. Second, it includes a female war correspondent. I never traveled to worn-torn countries, but I was a journalist for nearly thirty-years. One might argue, once a journalist, always. And third, much of the novel takes place in Cuba, a country I visited two years ago. I was able to visit Hemingway’s home. It was exotic, beautiful, and somehow I felt I was “kind of breaking the rules,” even though I was there legally.
In 1937, twenty-eight-year-old Martha 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 devastating conflict. She also finds herself unexpectedly and uncontrollably falling in love with Hemingway, a man already on his way to becoming a legend.
“Do you want me to stay?”
“Oh.” He’d caught me off guard. Somehow I hadn’t let myself think this could happen, though he was very much a man, and I was a woman. I had kept him high above all that in my mind, where he was my hero and also my teacher, my friend. I tried to think of what else to say, but it was all too thin.
In the shadow of the impending Second World War, and set against the tumultuous backdrops of Madrid, Finland, China, Key West, and especially Cuba, where Martha and Ernest make their home, their relationship and 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 being a famous man’s wife or risk losing Ernest by forging a path as her own woman and writer.
It’s a dilemma that will force her to break his heart, and her own.
I’ve loved all of Paula’s novels, and LOVE AND RUIN has become my new favorite. I also suggest readers check out her memoir, LIKE FAMILY: Growing Up In Other People’s Houses. Its a stark difference from what you may picture Paula’s upbringing to be, or at least it was for me. She’s a survivor and her strength radiates from every word she writes.
Paula McLain is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels, The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun. She now introduces her latest title, Love and Ruin.
Paula McLain was born in Fresno, California in 1965. After being abandoned by both parents, she and her two sisters became wards of the California Court System, moving in and out of various foster homes for the next fourteen years. When she aged out of the system, she supported herself by working as a nurses aid in a convalescent hospital, a pizza delivery girl, an auto-plant worker, a cocktail waitress–before discovering she could (and very much wanted to) write. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan in 1996.
She is the author of The Paris Wife, a New York Times and international bestseller, which has been published in thirty-four languages. The recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, the Cleveland Arts Prize, the Ohio Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, she is also the author of two collections of poetry; a memoir, Like Family, Growing up in Other People’s Houses; and a first novel, A Ticket to Ride. She lives with her family in Cleveland.
We have one copy of LOVE AND RUIN to giveaway. Just tell us your thoughts about Ernest Hemingway and/or Cuba.
We’ll choose a winner soon. Good luck.
GIVEAWAY USA only, please