Erika Robuck is a member of the Hemingway Society and while the story is Mariella’s, Hemingway and his wife Pauline are strong characters. Especially Hemingway. I felt like I came away knowing this complex charismatic man, but also realizing that probably no one really knew him.
Set in the 1930’s it’s a story of love, poverty, riches and survival on Key West.
This is a story rich in characters that I’ll remember. Even Mariella’s mother turns out to be a character to admire in the end.
In the blurb from the book (below) it only touches on Gavin and yet he is a hero to embrace and my favorite character in the story.
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 the reliable 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.