Love and Ruin

Love and Ruin

A Novel

Book - 2018
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"A novel about [Ernest Hemingway's] 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 ... In the shadow of the impending Second World War, and set against the turbulent backdrops of Madrid and Cuba, Martha and Ernest's relationship and their 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 could force her to break his heart, and hers"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 2018.
Edition: Special Barnes & Noble edition.
ISBN: 9781101967386
Characteristics: 388 pages ; 25 cm


Featured Blogs and Events

Caught Reading: Brown Line, September 2018

Fall is finally here and I couldn't be happier. I always enjoy the cooler temperatures, fresh air and the cozy mood of curling up with a book. While I can't curl up on my commute, I can get lost in a good book to and from work, and this past month I wasn't alone. I caught you, Brown Line riders, reading everything from essays to novels, and I was impressed. Many of you are on top of this… (more)

From Library Staff

In December, 1936, Martha Gellhorn, a fledgling writer from St. Louis met Ernest Hemingway at the now iconic Sloppy Joe's Bar while on a family vacation in Key West, Florida. Hemingway, at this point the celebrated novelist of A Farewell to Arms and The Sun Also Rises and married to his second wi... Read More »

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
May 19, 2019

'Love and Ruin', this is an excellent read by Paula McLain. A nice sequel to 'The Paris Wife', also by McLain about Hemmingway's first wife Hadley Richardson.

May 15, 2019

I so enjoyed this book and it led me to read “The Paris Wife” about Hemingway & his fourth wife, Hadley Richardson and their love & relationship.

Lovestoread5 Feb 16, 2019

I read this for the Adult Reading Challenge; I was prepared not to like this book even though I love historical fiction; I'm not a Hemingway fan. But I really loved the book! Excellent writing makes you feel you are right there with Marty through all the wars,her struggles with finding herself & her love for "Rabbit." I especially liked her Cuba years (although I still don't want to visit), and the description of their home. Very descriptive and deep writing, great prose, and wonderful characters.

BPLpicks Dec 27, 2018

The tumultuous relationship between award winning war correspendent Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway is the focus of McLain's latest biographical fiction. Skillfully written, with iconic characters set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War and WWII make for an exciting read.

Oct 26, 2018

I picked this up because I loved McLain’s other historical fiction books. I wasn’t interested in Hemingway’s private life, but after reading this I wish I’d read the book before visiting Key West and Havana. Although the saying “You go, girl!” wasn’t around when Martha Gelman was alive, she is the epitome of the expression. She refused to be a shadow to Hemingway’s fame. I had no idea she covered wars from Franco’s takeover of Spain to Viet Nam.

wendybird Sep 21, 2018

I've read - and reviewed here -2 of McLain's previous novels. As in The Paris wife (2011), the central character is one of Ernest Hemingway's real life partners. Plot and action through these 376 pages swirl around Martha Gellhorn Hemingway, during her incredible adventures and time with American Lit's "Papa", 1936 - 1945. A significant and celebrated war correspondent and novelist in her own right, Gellhorn was fiercely independent and a gifted writer. She sent first hand accounts to Colliers magazine during the Spanish Civil War, reported on Hitler's rise from Germany (1938), was the only woman present and dispatching at the D-Day Normandy landings. Often forgotten to history is her Dachau documentary, the first lengthy piece clearly describing the Nazi horrors there.
If that isn't enough to inspire a reader, there is the clear, yet evocative prose with which Paula McLain describes her hero's inner and outer worlds. We are there with her, in those places - in both her emotional landscape (which was passionate but troubled where Hemingway was concerned) and in the spectacular political and geographical landscape. .
While readers of historical romance fiction will gobble this lovely, high quality novel, there is something here to catch the eye of most serious readers.

Aug 05, 2018

Having read a couple of biographies of Hemingway, I found this fictionalized version of his relationship with Martha Gellhorn to be really interesting and realistic in terms of portraying the inner struggles Gellhorn went through in striving to be her own person while in a relationship with one of those 'big' figures of history. Also, because the book covers only the years of the Spanish Civil War and WW2, it is important historically as a way of remembering how damaging those struggles were, but how seemingly easy it was to see 'right' and 'wrong', whereas more recent wars have been harder to categorize.

Jul 31, 2018

I found this incredibly boring to read. I love historical fiction, but this, this was very loosely in this category. I say loosely as it’s more a made up story of Matha Gellhorns internal dialogue than much historic basis.

I might try another of her books, but I’m definitely reluctant after this book.

The premise was intriguing, the execution fell short.

Jul 23, 2018

I really enjoyed this book, loved hearing about her travels, her struggle to keep her own life and career separate from his, loved her intrepid way of living. I am now intrigued to read more about Martha Gellhorn and read more of this author.

Jul 06, 2018

I wish I had abandoned this book after the first 100 pages. I've read her other works, and enjoyed them. This story read like a trashy romance novel with internal dialogue that is based on nothing. I made myself finish it, but I should have set it down.

View All Comments


Add a Quote
May 23, 2018

“Real writing, I was beginning to realize, was more like laying bricks than waiting for lightning to strike. It was painstaking. It was manual labor. And sometimes, sometimes if you kept putting the bricks down and let your hands just go on bleeding, and didn’t look up and didn’t stop for anything, the lightning came. Not when you prayed for it, but when you did your work.”


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at CPL

To Top