If you loved The Paris Wife (which I did) by Paula McLain, make sure and mark down that her latest Love and Ruin will come out this May. She returns to the subject of Ernest Hemingway in what the publisher calls “a novel about his passionate, stormy marriage to Martha Gellhorn—a fiercely independent, ambitious young woman who would become one of the greatest war correspondents of the twentieth century.”
The stories and legend of Hemingway stay alive through his own work but also via historical fiction books and movies. And I like that Paula takes a look at the women in his life, which all had their own dreams and goals. Here’s the synopsis:
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. 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 the confining demands of being a famous man’s wife or risk losing Ernest by forging a path as her own woman and writer. It is a dilemma that will force her to break his heart, and her own.
And Paula herself sounds like she’s had a very unique life. According to her bio, 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 nurse’s 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.
The Paris Life became a New York Times and international bestseller, which has been published in thirty-four languages. She’s also written a memoir, Like Family, Growing up in Other People’s Houses, which sounds like another great read as well.