Monday, September 10, 2012

Hemingway's Girl by Erika Robuck

From Amazon - In Depression-era Key West, Mariella Bennet, the daughter of an American fisherman and a Cuban woman, knows hunger. Her struggle to support her family following her father’s death leads her to a bar and bordello, where she bets on a risky boxing match...and attracts the interest of two men: world-famous writer, Ernest Hemingway, and Gavin Murray, one of the WWI veterans who are laboring to build the Overseas Highway. 

When Mariella is hired as a maid by Hemingway’s second wife, Pauline, she enters a rarified world of lavish, celebrity-filled dinner parties and elaborate off-island excursions. As she becomes caught up in the tensions and excesses of the Hemingway household, the attentions of the larger-than-life writer become a dangerous temptation...even as straightforward Gavin Murray draws her back to what matters most.  Will she cross an invisible line with the volatile Hemingway, or find a way to claim her own dreams?  As a massive hurricane bears down on Key West, Mariella faces some harsh truths...and the possibility of losing everything she loves.

I'm not a big fan of Hemingway and I admit, I know very little about him.  However, if he was true to the way he was portrayed in Hemingway's Girl, then I doubt I would have liked him.  Mariella's father dies and it falls upon her shoulders to seek work and to support her mother and two younger sisters.  She does the odd job here and there and bets on boxing matches at a nearby bar.

There, she meets Ernest Hemingway.  Hemingway likes the girls and makes no secret about it - even though he is married.    She also meets Gavin there, a man working on the new highway and a WWII vet.  Although there seems to be a spark between her and Gavin, she is also attracted to Hemingway.

When he offers her employment at his house.  She will be working for his wife, Pauline, and does several different jobs in the household.  Although it gives Mariella a glimpse into the luxurious life, Pauline sees how Hemingway looks at Mariella.  Mariella, however, doesn't want to be just another notch in Hemingway's bedpost.  She has big plans and that doesn't enter into the equation.  She's also struggling with her attraction to Gavin.  But when a big hurricane approaches, Mariella needs to make a life-altering decision.  Go with Hemingway or stay, where most of the vets working and their families, may not make it to safety in time.

Historical fiction is always enlightening and entertaining.  Mariella is a wonderful character that I was rooting for through-out the book.  I enjoyed the descriptions of the area back in the 30's and the tidbits of facts throughout.  Although I found Hemingway to be a louse, it was interesting to learn about him in the character portrayal.  As I said before, I really knew nothing except he was a renowned author.  Robuck does a splendid job of depicting that time, with fascinating characters and exceptional writing. If you enjoy reading historical fiction - pick this one up!

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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