cover image Love and Ruin

Love and Ruin

Paula McLain. Ballantine, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-1-101-96738-6

McLain (The Paris Wife) strikingly depicts Martha Gellhorn’s burgeoning career as a writer and war correspondent during the years of her affair with and marriage to Ernest Hemingway. The narrative begins when Gellhorn, who has garnered national recognition for her field reporting on the Great Depression, meets Hemingway and travels with him to cover the Spanish Civil War at his suggestion. The war both horrifies and inspires her to continue writing, particularly one traumatic moment when she witnesses a child being killed by a mortar. While in Spain, Gellhorn and Hemingway become romantically involved and then move to Cuba, set up house, and launch into a productive period of writing and publishing. Things go well for a few years, but Hemingway’s neediness and jealousy eventually poisons their happiness and forces Gellhorn to choose between her own career and indulging his desire for a devoted wife. Realizing her true passion comes from on-the-ground reporting, Gellhorn decides to cover D-Day by leaving Hemingway and stowing away on the first hospital ship to land at Normandy, wading ashore to become the “first journalist, male or female, to make it there and report back.” Gellhorn emerges as a fierce trailblazer every bit Hemingway’s equal in this thrilling book. [em](May) [/em]