If you are a Paula McLain fan like me, you already know that she is brilliant at capturing the voices and lives of strong women in history. You’ve read Circling the Sun (about Beryl Clutterbuck—later Markham) and The Paris Wife (about Hadley Richardson, Ernest Hemingway’s first wife), and you’ve likely already purchased her latest historical novel, Love and Ruin, told from the point of view of Martha Gellhorn, a relentless war correspondent who happened to be Hemingway’s third wife (of four) and in fact was the only one who dumped him instead of the reverse. Martha was brave and bold and also witty and passionate—and deeply committed to her own writing, which is partly why their marriage didn’t last. She was so much more than Hemingway’s wife! So I’m probably not telling you anything you didn’t already suspect: This book is another must-read.
The beauty of Paula McLain’s writing is that she inspires you to want to read more about her subjects. I had barely closed this book before I bought Martha Gellhorn’s travel memoir, Travels with Myself and Another. (I’m only a few pages into it, but it cracks me up that in her description about a trip to China, she refers to Hemingway as “U.C.,” which stands for “Unwilling Companion.”)