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Love and Ruin

Love and Ruin

Book Review - Love and Ruin by Paula McLain

 Reading Love and Ruin by Paula McLain outside Martha Gellhorn's childhood home in St. Louis

Reading Love and Ruin by Paula McLain outside Martha Gellhorn's childhood home in St. Louis

This was the first book on my list of 5 Books I'm Most Looking Forward to Reading this Summer and I am so happy that I finally got around to posting about it because it. was. amazing. I've been a longtime fan of Paula McLain's writing - I think most of us fell in love with her when she wrote The Paris Wife. (But don't get me started on the book cover not matching the time period...) I was so excited to hear that Paula was returning to write about another of Hemingway's wives, Martha Gellhorn.

 Reading Love and Ruin by Paula McLain outside Martha Gellhorn's childhood home in St. Louis

Reading Love and Ruin by Paula McLain outside Martha Gellhorn's childhood home in St. Louis

Three of Hemingway's four wives have ties to St. Louis, did you know that? Martha Gellhorn was born in St. Louis in 1908 and lived here through high school until she moved to Philadelphia to attend Bryn Mawr College. (Hadley, Hemingway's first wife was born in St. Louis in 1891 and Pauline, Hemingway's second wife moved to St. Louis in 1901 and attended school here.) Love and Ruin by Paula McLain mentioned several key St. Louis locations including the Creve Coeur Lake and Union Station. Her childhood home still stands at 4366 McPherson, a World's Fair home in the Central West End.

 Reading Love and Ruin by Paula McLain outside Martha Gellhorn's childhood home in St. Louis

Reading Love and Ruin by Paula McLain outside Martha Gellhorn's childhood home in St. Louis

Although this story basically starts when Martha met Ernest Hemingway and ends when they split up (oh, come on, anyone familiar with Hemingway knows he had four wives...I'm not spoiling anything here) the book balances Martha's incredible career as a war correspondent with their tumultuous relationship. There is a lot of great content included in the book beyond her relationship, which is important because Martha was an incredibly talented writer and her work deserves as much (if not more) attention than her relationship to another talented writer.

 Reading Love and Ruin by Paula McLain outside Martha Gellhorn's childhood home in St. Louis

Reading Love and Ruin by Paula McLain outside Martha Gellhorn's childhood home in St. Louis

I was talking to a friend of mine about Ernest Hemingway, as he wasn't a very kind person and certainly not a great husband. But he was undeniably talented and I do love his writing. I guess this is the definition of "hating to love" someone. I wish he had been a better person so that I could appreciate his talent without reservation. Do you struggle with liking someone's talent and not liking them as a person?

 Reading Love and Ruin by Paula McLain outside Martha Gellhorn's childhood home in St. Louis

Reading Love and Ruin by Paula McLain outside Martha Gellhorn's childhood home in St. Louis

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