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Hemingway's Girl Paperback – Deckle Edge, September 4, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"You'll love this robust, tender story of love, grief, and survival on Key West in the 1930s...Addictive."—Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers

"Robuck's breathtaking alchemy is to put us inside the world of Hemingway and his wife Pauline." —Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You

"Richly realized...Readers will delight in the complex relationships and vivid setting."—Publishers Weekly

"I fell in love with Robuck's Hemingway and with the fiery Mariella Bennet, but what I loved most was the novel's message: that we can inspire each other to be better human beings." —Ann Napolitano, author of A Good Hard Look

"Evokes a setting of the greatest fascination...This is assured and richly enjoyable storytelling." —Margaret Leroy, author of The Soldier's Wife

"Brings to vivid life the captivating and volatile world of a literary legend." —Kristina McMorris, author of Letters From Home and Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

"An inspiring story of heartache and renewal. Readers will be sure to enjoy this ode to a literary icon." —Sarah McCoy, bestselling author of The Baker's Daughter

"Colorful, atmospheric, and a pleasure to plunge into." —Joseph Wallace, author of Diamond Ruby

About the Author

Erika Robuck is a contributor to popular fiction blog, Writer Unboxed, and maintains her own blog called Muse. She is a member of The Hemingway Society and The Historical Novel Society. She is also the author of Call Me Zelda.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: NAL; Original edition (September 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451237889
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451237880
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Erika Robuck self-published her first novel, RECEIVE ME FALLING. NAL/Penguin has published her subsequent novels: HEMINGWAY'S GIRL (2012), CALL ME ZELDA (2013), FALLEN BEAUTY (2014), and THE HOUSE OF HAWTHORNE (2015). Erika is also a contributor to GRAND CENTRAL: ORIGINAL STORIES OF POSTWAR LOVE AND REUNION (July 2014, Berkley/Penguin).

Erika has an historical fiction book blog, contributes to Writer Unboxed blog, and is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Hemingway Society, Hawthorne Society, and Millay Society.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Free2Read on July 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Wow! Superior historical fiction. Hemingway, Key West, the hurricane and the vet workers. Some readers find Hemingway, both the man and the author, annoying, but I love his work. That he could be a chauvinistic jerk, yes, I see that. His larger-than-life persona, however, makes for very interesting reading.

I liked "The Paris Wife," and now I love "Hemingway's Girl." Erika Robuck approaches Hemingway through an independent and fearless heroine, Mariella Bennet. Mariella is a servant in the Hemingway household in Key West.

Mr. Hemingway, Papa, is known for his delight in women, especially those to whom he is not married. He can't keep his hands off a pretty girl. But Mariella has no intention of becoming another of his cast-off girls. She doesn't always get along with Pauline, his second wife, who can see her husband's desire for Mariella. Papa doesn't feel he needs to hide anything, ever. But Marielle, despite her attraction, is quick to tell Papa that she has big plans for herself, and those plans do not include becoming a mistress to him.

The atmosphere of Key West, mostly undeveloped in the 1930s, the work of the vets on the highway through the mangrove swamps, and the lure of fishing the beautiful waters take the reader on a virtual vacation. The drinking, the fishing, the dancing, the cigarette smoke. . .all of these create images that take us away.

Robuck uses the setting, from the dive bars to the fantastical islands like Bimini, to develop both character and plot.

The dramatic ending compounds a series of events that draw together the character arc of Robuck's Marielle. I noticed a few anachronisms in this historical novel, but for me, the whole outweighed these insignificant intrusions.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Julie Lovisa VINE VOICE on August 5, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you have read The Paris Wife: A Novel, you know the story of Ernest and Hadley Hemingway's marriage. Hemingway's Girl continues the story with Hemingway's life in Florida with his second wife, Pauline, told through the eyes of their house girl, Mariella. Mariella was born of a Cuban mother and white father and their family had been ostracized because the mix. After her father dies, Mariella must support her mother and two younger sisters by doing as many odd jobs as she can and by occasionally betting on boxing matches set up by Hemingway. One evening at a match, she is introduced to Hemingway, who is smitten with her, and subsequently hired on as a house girl to help Pauline. She also meets Gavin, a WWI vet who has been working to build a road on one of the islands.

Pauline, who caused the breakup of Hemingway's first marriage, is incredibly insecure and becomes jealous of his attentions to Mariella, who is torn between her desire for him and her blossoming love for Gavin. While she wrestles with this triangle, she must also try to help her sisters, the youngest of whom is prone to fevers, and her mother, who has been depressed since the death of her husband. When she is asked to accompany the Hemingways to the island of Bimini for the summer, she is torn between staying with her family and boyfriend or the temptation of Papa Hemingway.

Over Labor Day, a hurricane brews that puts the hundreds of vets who are working to build the road alongside Gavin in danger. The Labor Day Hurricane is one of the strongest storms to make landfall in American history and caused untold death and destruction.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Barbara J. Mitchell VINE VOICE on August 30, 2012
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Key West was a place dear to my heart in the 1950s and up to about 1962. When I revisited in the 1970s, it was a different place. That's why I was anxious to read this story set in 1935 Key West when Hemingway was in residence and the overseas highway was under construction.

The main character is Mariella Bennet whose Cuban mother was disowned by her family for marrying an American fisherman. As the story begins, Hal Bennet has died and Mariella's mother is so deep in grief that it is up to her three daughters to look after themselves. They are desperately poor so Mariella works odd jobs on the waterfront to feed her little sisters and her mother.

Then she meets Hemingway and is hired as a maid in the home where he lives with his second wife, Pauline, and their children. The house is described in perfect detail, and the characterization of both Papa and Pauline are excellent. Papa and Mariella are drawn to each other and Pauline feels threatened; as Mariella struggles to avoid crossing any lines.

Meanwhile, she has met a veteran of WW I, one of many who are working on the overseas highway. I knew there had been a terrible hurricane that killed many of those workers, and the scene in this book carried me away. It was the most powerful scene in the book.

I don't want to give away any more of this excellent story, but just know that this is a wonderful read. I highly recommend this book whether you know Key West or not. The characters and settings will draw you in just as they did me.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ms Winston VINE VOICE on August 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Hemingway's Girl" is a homage to the late author by Erika Robuck. It is a novel set in 1936 in Key West where Ernest Hemingway, his wife, Pauline, and their two sons have come to live. If you have read "The Paris Wife," or any non-fiction works on the life of Hemingway, you know that Pauline was the second wife who supplanted Hadley Richardson in the author's affections. This book looks at their marriage through the eyes of a fictional character, Mariella Bennet, an 18 year old young woman who works as a maid in the Hemingway houshold. Mariella is the daughter of an American father and a Cuban mother. She is the sole support of her mother and two younger sisters, as her fisherman father has died shortly before the opening of the novel. Mariella is a beautiful young woman who catches Hemingway's attention and also the attention of a World War I veteran, Gavin Murray, who is working on building the Overseas Highway. Mariella is attracted to both of the men, who are 35 and 33 years old respectively. She has to keep reminding herself that Hemingway is a married man as she falls deeper under his spell. The climax of the novel occurs against the background of the infamous 1936 Labor Day Hurricane that devastated the east coast of the United States.

Erika Robuck is a very good writer of description and also of natural sounding conversation. She shows us the beginning of the legendary "Papa" Hemingway who was slowly chipping away the idealistic young man who came home from World War I as a badly wounded Red Cross ambulance driver. Hemingway had always wanted to have a girl child in addition to the three boys he had with his first two wives, and apparently had a tendency to call younger women "daughter.
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