Book review – Love & Ruin, Paul McLain is a book I had warning of the date it was to be published. I ordered my book in advance and went to the book shop on the day it was released. Paula creates such beautiful stories and strong female characters I would sell my shirt for her latest read. She brings to life strong woman in a time when we believed they were not. This novel revisits another favourite of mine, Ernest Hemmingway. This time from the 3rd wife’s perspective.
The book of choice
Love & Ruin, Paula McLain
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Why this book?
Don’t you love the stories set in post war years when the world was appreciative of the smallest things? Freedom and finding love? I truly gravitate to the hardship, the romance and the heroism of this time. The sense of adventure this time in history provided. Not to mention the main setting of Cuba being the ultimate draw card.
You cannot tell me Cuba is not on your list of places you would like to visit. Sure, some political unrest and stories that are not so fluffy existed, but damn interesting no? Never mind this book is less about politics and more about romance and how a woman felt she needed to work, it was part of who she was.
Paul McLain is most one of my favourites. I waited with baited breath for her second novel, Circling the Sun and I would have camped out to read this should the need of arisen.
Paula’s stories are treasured. Her characters are not weak as we once may have been led to believe but full of strength and understanding. Yes, her characters are factious creations of real people but they do get you to consider what you once thought you knew and perhaps you did not. I will continue to treasure her stories and be ready to camp out for the release of any new novel she writes.
Why should you read it?
Are you female, actually, doesn’t really matter if you are not. Paul McLain is able to create the strongest of female characters in times when they were pioneering the right to work and be taken seriously. This novel brings us back to her first novel’s topic of Ernest Hemmingway’s wife, this time form the perspective of wife number 3.
We all know the story from the infamous Ernest but rarely considered the story from the point of view of the other side. I find this setting not only like a gossip mag in another era, but moreish and hard to stop wanting to know what happened next.
I love stories of women succeeding and pushing forward despite hardship and suffering. Above the normal notions of the strength of women this book is also about a woman who just had to work. Work was a part of who she was and she put it before many other things in her life. In 2018, we still have the debate of women having it all and putting their career first. Can they put their career first ahead of their children and their relationship? What is the cost if women are to put their relationship behind their career?
Being 2018, we have choices. Many of us have freedom and many of us the ability to choose whatever we want to be. We have these things because women before us have pushed the boundaries and created a new normal for us to exist in. Not just famous women who were the first female to fly but also those supporting husbands and family without fame. I remain grateful for these stories and an insight into the hardship of the time.
Finally, who wants to visit Cuba and Key West. I realise much of the romance may have been lost with the development over the last few decades but they do both sound deliciously colourful and fun.