The Seldom Diaries: Hemingway’s Girl by Erika Robuck

 

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Hemingway’s Girl
Erika Robuck
Published by New American Library
September 2012
Paperback
Historical fiction/Romance/Contemporary/Literary fiction
352 pages

 

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 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 rarefield 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 reliable Gavin draws her back  to what matters most. Will she cross an invisible line with the volatile Hemingway or find a wayto claim her own dreams? As a massive hurricane bears down on Key West, Mariella faces some harsh truths- and possibility of losing everything she loves.

… … …

((I loved this book, but the summary was a total pain to rewrite. Was it just me, or does it seem crazy long? Anyway…))

I like a good love triangle, don’t you? They might get a little dicey, but it doesn’t make it any less juicier. I’ve noticed that they always seem to be between the centre piece or in other words, the suspecting undecisive little chick-a-dee, that really nice loveable guy, and the problematic bad boy with a secret heart of gold. In this case, Erika Robuck tossed them all in a blender. The results were very interesting.

Robuck begins the novel with an older Mariella and her son, Jake. Son, you say? Naturally, I had to use the detective skills that I don’t have to read on and figure out which other point of the triangle this Jake belonged to. Especially if our main character’s intense reaction at the news of Hemingway’s demise was anything to go by. Color me intrigued.

The book reverts back to years earlier. Mariella’s relationship with her mother is strained at the death of her father. Her mother, Eva, still grieving at the loss and her two younger sisters who depend on her in more ways than one. Mariella doesn’t seem to get her own time to grieve, really. She’s got to be the strong one, trying to figure out how the family is going to pay of debts and put food on the table. Which is saddening, yet extremely admirable. Luckily, putting an almost stop on her bets at boxing matches, she swings a job working as the Hemingways’ maid.

Now I usually have favourites in these things. Whether it be Gavin’s sweet caring nature. Or Hemingway’s unnecessary complicatedness. I found myself cheering for both contenders, though I suppose Hemingway having already been married was just too sleazy. And throughout the book, it seems to be the same thought ringing in Mariella’s mind when she considers the writer’s actions towards herself and others.

Devastation erupts when she believes Gavin to be dead when the hurricane hits. I think even I might’ve cried. ((I cry over everything…) Thoooough when we discover that things aren’t exactly as they seem, it’s clear who Mariella’s choice was. Gavin and Hemingway are good sports throughout.

I believe I mentioned the badboy with the heart of gold?

This is me trying not to give the ending away. I think I failed.

Erika Robuck did a terrific job. Hemingway’s Girl already has a nice & cozy spot on my shelf. Amazeballs.

Xox,
Sasha

 

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