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Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 19, 2018

Choose an historic novel for a good summer read

Aug 20, 2018

At the Library by LeAnn Kunz

 

If you are looking to immerse yourself in a historic novel on these late summer days and you love reading about famous writers, Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife, has written a new novel.

Love and Ruin tells the story of the early life of Martha Gellhorn, one of the 20th century’s greatest war correspondents.

McLain’s novel takes place during the time period when Gellhorn met and ultimately married novelist Ernest Hemingway. The two fall in love in the midst of the Spanish Civil War, despite Hemingway’s marriage to his second wife, Pauline. As is the case with most of Hemingway’s love affairs, their relationship is tumultuous.

Gellhorn is ambitious and Hemingway is often jealous of her dedication to her career. Love and Ruin weaves in and out of their short relationship and the many conflicts of war. Gellhorn reported World War II from Finland, Hong Kong, Burma, Singapore, and England and even though she did not have official press credentials to witness the Normandy landings, she hid in a hospital ship bathroom and, when they landed, she impersonated a stretcher bearer.

She was the only woman to land at Normandy on D-Day on June 6, 1944. Obviously there is never a dull moment in this book because Martha craves adventure and cannot stay away from any of the war fronts, even though she and her husband have a lovely home in Cuba.

She is constantly conflicted with her loyalty to Hemingway and her passion for correspondence and her writing. My interest in Martha Gellhorn’s entire career was definitely piqued after reading this novel. If you are like me, reading one book often leads to another, so now I am on the hunt for more books about this fascinating woman’s life.

I’ve discovered the library owns a detailed biography by Caroline Moorehead titled Gellhorn : a Twentieth Century Life, which I am enjoying.

We also have some of the Gellhorn’s own collection of war correspondence in The Face of War.

Stop in at the library and hunt down something for yourself!

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