Love and Ruin

Love and Ruin

by Paula McLain

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101967393
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/15/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 11,910
Product dimensions: 5.21(w) x 7.93(h) x 1.14(d)

About the Author

Paula McLain is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Love and Ruin, Circling the Sun, The Paris Wife, and A Ticket to Ride, the memoir Like Family: Growing Up in Other People’s Houses, and two collections of poetry. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, O: The Oprah Magazine, Town & Country, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere. She lives in Ohio with her family.

Read an Excerpt

Near dawn on July 13, 1936, as three assassins scaled a high garden wall in Tenerife hoping to catch the band of armed guards unaware, I was asleep in a tiny room in Stuttgart, waiting for my life to begin.
(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Love and Ruin"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Paula McLain.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Reading Group Guide

1. Martha tells us from the outset that, for better or worse, she is a born traveler. What kind of expectation does that set up about her personality and disposition? What character traits might “born travelers” have that others don’t?

2. Just before Martha meets Ernest, her father dies. How might that make her more impressionable or susceptible to Ernest’s influence?

3. How would you describe Martha’s outlook as she heads off to Madrid? What are her reasons for going? What did the war seem to mean to her, and to others who volunteered?

4. When Martha begins to feel Ernest is drawn to her physically, she initially resists, saying he’s “too Hemingway.” What does she mean by that? What is she afraid of?

5. Martha tells us that after three weeks in Madrid she felt she never wanted to leave, saying, “It was like living with my heart constantly in my throat.” How could that feeling be perceived as positive? What are some of things she loves about Spain? About her circle of friends and colleagues at the Hotel Florida?

6. When Martha finds the house in Cuba, the Finca Vigía, she falls in love with it instantly, even though it’s in ruins. Why? What does she hope to gain by restoring the property and living there with Ernest? What are the risks?

7. When Martha accepts the assignment to travel to Finland for Collier’s, Ernest says teasingly to their group of friends in Sun Valley that she’s abandoning him. Is it really a joke or is there significant tension brewing? What are Martha’s reasons for going? How does she feel about her work in relation to her personal life? Can the two coexist? Can she—or anyone—have everything?

8. Though Martha is the one who chooses the Finca as a “beautiful foxhole” to share with Ernest, the house eventually begins to weigh on her. Why? What is draining to her about domesticity? Does Ernest have the same ambivalence? Why or why not?

9. Although Martha loves Ernest and doesn’t want to give up her life with him, she has a lot of trepidation about marrying him. Why? What factors contribute to her anxiety? What does she stand to lose?

10. When For Whom the Bell Tolls is published in 1940, it’s a runaway success, selling more copies than any American novel before it save Gone with the Wind. How do the book’s success and Ernest’s intensifying fame challenge Martha as his wife? What about as a writer?

11. When Martha and Ernest go off to China, they’re both working as reporters in search of a story. How do their journalistic methods differ? Are they different kinds of travelers, with different worldviews? Would you say they’re compatible? Why or why not?

12. As the world plunges toward war, Martha feels increasingly compelled to go to Europe to try to write about what’s happening, while Ernest becomes obsessed with his sub-hunting “mission.” What are the instincts that pull them in opposite directions? Do we understand what drives them? Do they understand and have compassion for each other, or are they spiraling toward an impasse?

13. When Martha is finally convinced she must go to Europe to report on the war if she’s going to live with herself, Ernest feels more and more despondent and abandoned. Finally, he betrays her by taking her correspondent’s credentials from Collier’s, effectively replacing her on the masthead and making a place at the front lines impossible for her. Can we comprehend his actions and find empathy for him? Why or why not?

14. When the marriage disintegrates beyond repair, Ernest almost immediately finds a new love interest in Mary Welsh (who will become Mrs. Hemingway #4), while Martha turns to her work to ease her pain, finding strength in reclaiming her name and her independence. Do you think their contrasting strategies for surviving heartbreak symbolize the essential differences between Martha and Ernest as people? And do you believe that two such very different personalities could ever hope to find lasting happiness together?

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Love and Ruin (B&N Exclusive Edition) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy Paula McLain's novels as she brings historical figures to life. ~*~LEB~*~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Historical fiction at its best! Paula McLain has written another exceptional novel. I could not put this book down, I was transported in time and place as well and learned history. Thank you Paula!
CrawfishQueen More than 1 year ago
I had read McLain’s book about Hadley Richardson, Hemingway’s first wife, so was a little intrigued to read about his third, Martha Gelhorn. I found Martha a very interesting subject, and her strength and dedication to reporting about war even when she was the only female around was inspiring. The story was told in the first person, but then there were a few monologues in the voice of Hemingway mixed in, which I found a little disruptive. Neither book has given me much admiration for Hemingway, and I am done with reading about him or his wives! McLain did a good job painting the atmosphere, both the frenetic scenes of war and the alternating quiet and frenzied life around Ernest. I liked the strong bond between Martha and her mother, and found myself wondering about the relationship which strengthened Martha and sent her out with the courage to plot her own destiny, even when being pulled off-course by Ernest.
Book_and_recipe_Examiner More than 1 year ago
Many people have romanticized the life of Ernest Hemingway, admiring his great works but missing his many human flaws. One of these people, initially, was the woman who would become his third wife, Martha Gellhorn, or Marty. Through her eyes, we are exposed to the savage side of Hemingway as well as his tenderness. He is a justice fighter reporting alongside his young wife, a kind father, a generous animal lover, but, at times, he can become a depressed, angry man who struggles to find purpose and inspiration for his next novel. Marty too is a writer who wants to pour her life experiences and emotions into her characters, but her novels aren’t met with the same success as her husband’s. So she becomes a female war correspondent, sometimes to her detriment, and reveals the complexity of a woman’s desires for a successful career and a happy home, and the struggle of trying to balance both. Part narrative of the Pre-WWII Spanish war, part love story and tragedy, Love and Ruin is a raw and heartbreaking historical fiction, exposing war, death, and the things that give life worth. For discussion questions, similar reads, and a themed recipe for easy orange poppyseed muffins, visit http://hub.me/alZAU
onemused 6 months ago
"Love and Ruin" is an intriguing historical fiction about Martha Gellhorn and her tumultuous relationship/marriage with Ernest Hemingway. Told from her perspective and based on intensive and thorough research, this book portrays the development of Martha's career as well as the push-and-pull of her relationship with Hemingway. Martha is a big literary figure in her own right and has impressive credentials. She wrote novels and worked as a serious and critical reporter in war zones. Hemingway and the press seemed determine to place her into the box as his wife, but Martha is fierce and knows what she wants and must do. She is dedicated to her career, and, as history has shown, she is an impressive figure in her own right. Her character and personality are beautifully reflected in this intriguing novel, and the details of the past are brought to life in this story. This book made me really interested in Martha's story and I found the article by this author (McLain) in Town and Country Magazine (July 2018) really fascinating. It helps get some context around the book for people who are interested in more. Overall, this was a really engaging story that follows the lives of some prominent historical figures, and I highly recommend for fans of historical fiction. Please note that I received a copy from a goodreads giveaway. All opinions are my own.
Anonymous 11 months ago
She waits.
Anonymous 11 months ago
He waits.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story and coverage.
Piney10 More than 1 year ago
4.25. Fascinating read. I like historical novels and this one did not disappoint. I read and liked The Aviators Wife, and Circling the Sun by Paula McLain so I was eager o read this book. The novel is centered around Martha Gellhorn, a writer, war time correspondent in the Spanish Civil War and World War II and wife of Ernest Hemingway. She was ambitious, independent and a true trailblazer for women in what traditionally was a male profession. As a fan of St. Louis, I was even more engrossed as she was a St. Louis native with strong ties to the area. Ms. Gellhorn was a gutsy lady, butting up against the male entrenched correspondent profession, and doing quite successfully but not without some setbacks. The novel also was interesting in providing an intimate look into the very complex character of Ernest Hemingway as well as their complicated relationship, admiration between the two but also very competitive. The novel showed the atrocities of war through the sometimes terrifying front line role of war correspondents while also illustrating the softer and romantic life Gellhorn and Hemingway had residing in Cuba in the 40s. I highly recommend this novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't know anything about Ernest Hemingway other than writer, cats, and Key West before picking up this book, which is the story of his third wife, Martha Gelhorn. I did look her up online and read more about her and Ernest, who was a much more morose figure than I knew at first. I think it's fascinating to read behind the scenes stuff of these larger than life characters who traveled the world during wartime to write about it. The book is a bit slow at times which made it hard to read, but it has incredibly developed characters.
SherreyM More than 1 year ago
Reading a novel by Paula McLain is a great assignment…an assignment filled with the joy of reading her beautiful and poetic prose, meeting her always interesting characters, and finding myself in another time and place. Love and Ruin did not disappoint. Hemingway takes another wife may not be what you think you want to read, but told by Paula McLain it is a beautiful story. That is with the exception of Hemingway’s treatment of women, especially his wives. His marriage to Martha Gellhorn proves to be no different. However, the descriptive language of the novel, especially the details of the Spanish Civil War and the role played by the characters in the book, make up for the fact that Hemingway is himself, no matter which war is being fought. Gellhorn is young and enamored of Hemingway’s fame and his large and strong persona. Young girls found him attractive and mysterious. Gellhorn was no exception. Her dream of working as a journalist also made Hemingway an effective mentor and help in getting her work published. I have not read all of McLain’s books, but I do respect her work as a great writer. When I find an author who transports me to the time and place and action by painting pictures with words, I always come back for more. McLain is one of those writers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received an advance copy of Love ad Ruin from Net Galley. I am a huge fan of Paula McLain. I have loved The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun. This book cemented that I will read all of Paula's books. The story is about Marty Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway as they progress through being journalists, authors and finally a married couple. It is fiction with historical events mixed in to tell their love story. I won't go into the plot line chapter by chapter but I will ask to to read this one. You won't be able to put it down.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
I knew nothing about Martha (Marty) Gellhorn before I started reading this novel but I learned a great deal about her and her marriage to Ernest Hemingway. With great detail about the time period surrounding WWII, Marty wanted to make her mark in the world as a writer and she would stop at nothing to do so. As I read this novel, Marty’s fathers last words were always on the back of my mind and I had to wonder if perhaps, they were part of Marty’s driving force. They stung when they were spoken but I felt they were spoken out of love and the desire for Marty to aim high. Marty was a strong, determined lady, which not everyone appreciated in a woman in this time period. As her books went to print, she wouldn’t settle and be content with what she had accomplished, she wanted more. Her idol was the famous writer, Ernest Hemingway, and when she met him on vacation with her family, she was speechless. Thinking life couldn’t get any better, she discovered that Ernest actually had read her novel and he wanted HER autograph. Ernest was traveling overseas to report on the war and he asked Marty to join him. This sounded like a terrific opportunity for Marty: a chance for her to write and be with the famous writer, so she travels as Ernest companion. With the front so close to their rooms, Ernest found himself at Marty’s door checking on her welfare. It seems innocent enough but before that trip was over, the two of them were in a relationship. Wow, if only Ernest wasn’t married with children. Returning home, they both continued to write but the war was calling and they both left again to continue their coverage on the war. They are so right for each other and yet so wrong. As the war blazed away in the background, the lovers mixed their work with play. Ernest was leading two lives and he had to choose what life he wanted to lead and I knew someone was going to get hurt in the end. Between writing books and stories about the war, Marty and Ernest passion and desire with each other took centerstage. Each character underwent a transformation to arrive at their final resting place. I really enjoyed the details that the author included inside this novel. The emotions and the drive that the characters felt is relived through the novel and they created a momentum within the novel. I enjoyed reading this novel and I highly recommend it.
carolinabeckey More than 1 year ago
This novel tracks the relationship of Hemmingway to his third wife, the famed war journalist Martha Gellhorn. Ms McLain takes us along from their initial meeting while Martha is on family vacation in Key West following the death of her father, to the Spanish Civil War where Hemmingway has encouraged her to follow him as her mentor and wastes no time making her his lover. Their life together in the lushness of Cuba, to the vastness wilderness of Wyoming. This relationship is a tumultuous journey of passion, love, and personal and professional jealous between two childish, selfish, volatile people which could only end exactly as it does. Ms McLain is a beautiful writer of great talent. I only wish she could find more likeable characters to bring to life.
JCNash More than 1 year ago
In Love and Ruin, Paula McLain presents a fictional account of Martha Gellhorn's rise to journalistic fame in the context of her infamous relationship with Ernest Hemingway during the Spanish Civil War through WWII. Masterfully written and well researched, McClain gives the reader a heroine with such depth you feel you know her. The setting for each local is beautifully rendered, from the tropical paradise of Martha's home in Cuba, to the bombed-out devastation that was the aftermath of Normandy. There were times when McClain's scenes gave me physical chills. Despite the fictionalized nature of this work, one could be convinced that the story McClain presents is about as close to true as possible. I found the short scenes that featured Hemingway's point of view distracting, and would have preferred not to be pulled out of Martha's story, but that was infrequent and brief in the context of the whole novel. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. At a time when there is more than enough WWII historical fiction to go around, the lens through which the story is told is fresh and unique and I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it.
lsmoore_43 More than 1 year ago
I did not enjoy this book enough to finish it. It to me was boring. I’m not really that interested in Hemingway so it just was not my kind of book. I’m very sorry. I am sure others will like it much better. Thank you for the chance to read it though.
WhisperingStories More than 1 year ago
If I’m perfectly honest I had never heard of Martha Gellhorn until I started reading this book. I also knew little about Ernest Hemingway beyond his home in Key West Florida, the six-toed cats he kept or his boat, Pilar. Of course, I knew his novels – though I have never read any of them. So you might be wondering what made me read a book about the life of a woman I’d never heard of before and her love affair with a man I knew little about? Truthfully, I crave knowledge and although this is a dramatised fictional account of Martha Gellhorn’s real life, the events that occur really did happen, so I was intrigued. The book is split into six sections starting in January 1936 and ending in June 1944. Martha was an inspirational woman who from an early age knew she didn’t want to be tied down, she wanted to travel, to make a difference. She wanted to be an accomplished writer and more importantly, she wanted her father’s approval of her writing, something he refused to give her, telling her there were two types of women in the world and she was the other kind. Harsh words for any young woman to have to deal with, but especially hard when said just before her father’s death. Martha met Hemingway on a holiday to Florida with her mother and brother after the death of her father. He invited her to be a correspondent on the Spanish civil war. After getting a friend from a magazine to give her papers to say she worked for them, she made her way to Spain, meeting up with Hemingway and his associates in Madrid. It was here that her love of journalism took off. It was also where she started to fall for Hemingway, even though he was married to his second wife Pauline at the time. The book follows Martha’s life and the love affair that the two eventually began. At the back of the book is a note from the author that give us an insight into Martha’s life after the book. It seemed to me that the love of these two people, even for a short while, haunted her for the rest of her life, as she avoided him until his death and then his name or anything to do with him afterward. I found the book a slow read, yet so enthralling and interesting. I felt like a sponge soaking in so much information that I never knew before. How I’d never heard of this woman before is a mystery to me. She was one of the first female war correspondents, and an award-winning one at that. She also had an amazing life, one that I’m glad has finally been told, as it certainly deserved to be.
Burncoatgirl More than 1 year ago
If you thought "Paris Wife" was a great read, wait till you get your hands on "Love and Ruin." Ernest Hemingway was only in Martha Gellhorn's life for ten years BUT WOW - what an incredible ten years it was. And if you haven't read it already, grab the other new Hemingway book "Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy" by Nicholas Reynolds. Actually, I can highly recommend that you buy both books and go away for the weekend. Sit by the ocean or a pool, with a cool drink in hand and dive into the world if Hemingway and Gellhorn.
4840318 More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars This was my first book by Paula McLain and it will not be my last. I have seen other reviews stating that Love and Ruin don’t compare to Paris Wife or Circling the Sun, so I am more than anxious to set my eyes upon those books. I waffled a bit with my rating because while I really enjoyed this book, I also found myself skimming over many parts. I really loved Marty, she was a woman before her time. I loved that she was strong and she knew what she wanted for herself; that in the end, she chose herself. I understood her grief and loss, but she was just too much of a woman for Hemmingway to handle and she wasn’t going to let him hold her back. I am not a big fan of the classics, so I have not read any of Hemmingway’s works and quite frankly, I don’t really know much of him as person. But I’ve got to say, he seems like a real jerk. I really did not care for him and just kept thinking that Marty was way too good for him. One of the other struggles I had was the very descriptive war scenes. I know, its historical fiction, but like Marty, I wanted to human connection. I found myself skimming through the war passages, which is why I ultimately decided on 3.5 stars. The story of Marty Gellhorn is a good one, and I was completely captivated by her story. I would recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In Love and Ruin, Paula McClain once again weaves effortless historical fiction, telling the story of Martha Gellhorn, a renowned war correspondent and Ernest Hemingway's third wife. In McClain's hands, the tumult, horror, and atmosphere of the 1930s and 1940s come to life vividly through the story of two writers passionate about one another and their writing. Gellhorn is a fascinating character through whom to witness a world gone mad and to struggle to find her own place in the world, on her own terms and on her own two feet. I loved this book, did not want it to end. The atmosphere, the crackling tension, and beautiful prose combined to create a book that I did not want to put down and that kept me up way past my bedtime. A wonderful, wonderful story from a master of historical fiction.
ethel55 More than 1 year ago
I didn't know anything about Martha Gellhorn before I read this interesting historical fiction book my McClain. Unfortunately, the 'ruin' part hurtles at you for most of the book, Hemingway has a very strong sense of character and is battling his own demons while Gellhorn tries to remain her own woman. It spans a fairly short time, from the Spanish Civil War to Omaha Beach.
WordPassion More than 1 year ago
Martha Gellhorn, a struggling writer in her late 20s, and Ernest Hemingway find love amidst war in the Spanish Civil War both are tested by their literary success....and though their story is complete fiction....you will find this tale entirely believable and will even wish that it were true. Ms. McLain brings the people and conflict and beauty of Spain to life through Martha's eyes and imagines a love story that makes complete sense with Hemingway's history and love of adventure. As Martha tries to forge her own literary path, she is forced to decide between her love for Hemingway, already a bright star and burning brighter....and the career she also loves. Martha's decision will condemn one of these loves. Beautiful to read, a complete pleasure to imagine the excitement and fear and courage, you will find yourself routing for Martha, no matter the direction she turns.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
I had absolutely no clue about Martha Gellhorn, her achievements or her fascinating life. I love to read about the women pioneers who paved the way for others and this one did not disappoint at all! What a sad time she had always being compared with Hemingway (as if there were any connection other than their marriage). His stealing of her Collier's job was horrendous, abhorrent and just plain atrocious! I loved reading this book and learning more about these people. I love the series of the wives of Hemingway by this author. Thanks to Random House Ballantine and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it. I am now craving the second edition. I kept getting lost with lead. Kept imagining him as handsome even though he might not be. Through her eyes he was. a