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  • Enthralling and interesting

    If I’m perfectly honest I had never heard of Martha Gellhorn until I started reading this book. I also knew little about Ernest Hemingway beyond his home in Key West Florida, the six-toed cats he kept or his boat, Pilar. Of course, I knew his novels – though I have never read any of them. So you might be wondering what made me read a book about the life of a woman I’d never heard of before and her love affair with a man I knew little about? Truthfully, I crave knowledge and although this is a dramatised fictional account of Martha Gellhorn’s real life, the events that occur really did happen, so I was intrigued. The book is split into six sections starting in January 1936 and ending in June 1944. Martha was an inspirational woman who from an early age knew she didn’t want to be tied down, she wanted to travel, to make a difference. She wanted to be an accomplished writer and more importantly, she wanted her father’s approval of her writing, something he refused to give her, telling her there were two types of women in the world and she was the other kind. Harsh words for any young woman to have to deal with, but especially hard when said just before her father’s death. Martha met Hemingway on a holiday to Florida with her mother and brother after the death of her father. He invited her to be a correspondent on the Spanish civil war. After getting a friend from a magazine to give her papers to say she worked for them, she made her way to Spain, meeting up with Hemingway and his associates in Madrid. It was here that her love of journalism took off. It was also where she started to fall for Hemingway, even though he was married to his second wife Pauline at the time. The book follows Martha’s life and the love affair that the two eventually began. At the back of the book is a note from the author that give us an insight into Martha’s life after the book. It seemed to me that the love of these two people, even for a short while, haunted her for the rest of her life, as she avoided him until his death and then his name or anything to do with him afterward. I found the book a slow read, yet so enthralling and interesting. I felt like a sponge soaking in so much information that I never knew before. How I’d never heard of this woman before is a mystery to me. She was one of the first female war correspondents, and an award-winning one at that. She also had an amazing life, one that I’m glad has finally been told, as it certainly deserved to be.

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