(I love this cover! Unique and totally true to the novel.)
I finished Hemingway's Girl and immediately started a mental list of all the people I was going to force it on. You ever do that? Read a book that's so good that you want everyone around you to stop everything and read it too? Hemingway's Girl was published in September 2012 and I'm writing this review in September 2014. Can you believe I was somehow able to leave this gem in a ridiculously large pile of ARCs for TWO YEARS before finally experiencing it's awesomeness? I've already added Erika Robuck's other three novels to my extra-ridiculously large tbr list and will be handing off this ARC to my sister-in-love tomorrow.
The main character of Hemingway's Girl is Mariella Bennett. She's an incredibly strong young woman, nineteen years old, who lives with her family in Key West, FL. She is the oldest daughter of an American fisherman and a Cuban woman and has two much-younger sisters, Estelle and Lulu. When the book opens, her father has just passed away, just a few months prior. Her family is still reeling from his accidental death at sea, and Mariella is working odd jobs at the dock to help support them. One night desperation takes her to a bar, to a boxing fight, where she gambles to try to increase her earnings from the day. Ernest Hemingway is the announcer/referee, and one of the boxers is Gavin, a WWI vet. The relationships that she begins to form with these two men, separately, shape the events in the remainder of the book. Mariella begins a tenuous dance with Hemingway when Pauline Hemingway hires her as a housekeeper. She also has the attention of the handsome war vet, Gavin. The tension in the novel builds all the way up to a potentially fatal hurricane. Along the way, the reader has the privilege to see inside the Hemingways' home through the eyes of Mariella. You will experience hope and healing alongside Mariella as she finds her way on her own, without her father. And you will also see Gavin healing from the scars of war through his relationship with Mariella and her family.
Hemingway's Girl has it all: history, romance, character growth, 3-dimensional supporting characters, the beautiful setting of the Florida Keys, and a big bonus: Ernest Hemingway. This is a story of grief, but also of healing and survival. The writing is superb, and I look forward to reading other novels by Ms. Robuck.
Hemingway's Girl gets six of five stars from me!
*I received an ARC of Hemingway's Girl from the publisher. Thank you!