Shelf Awareness for Thursday, April 12, 2018

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

Henry Holt & Company: Mihi Ever After (Mihi Ever After #1) by Tae Keller, illustrated by Geraldine Rodríguez

Berkley Books: River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer

Oxford University Press, USA: The World According to Proust by Joshua Landy

Chronicle Chroma: Bob Willoughby: A Cinematic Life by Bob Willoughby

Charlesbridge Publishing: Forever Cousins by Laurel Goodluck, illustrated by Jonathan Nelson

Tor Teen: The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

Quotation of the Day


LBF 2018: 'Tide Is Changing' for U.K. Bookselling

In his last report as executive director of the Booksellers Association of the U.K. and Ireland, Tim Godfray offered a highly encouraging report on the state of bookselling at the organization's annual general meeting, held Tuesday at the London Book Fair, saying that "the tide is changing" for the better. Among the positive signs: for the first time since 1995, when fixed prices ended in the U.K. and caused great disruption in book retailing, the association had an increase in members last year. In addition, the number of bookselling outlets is the highest ever in the BA's history, which goes back to 1895.

Tim Godfray

In other good news, the media narrative about "bookshops being doomed" has turned around, Godfray said. Print books have experienced a resurgence and are being embraced by book lovers, who know that bookshops are the best place to discover new titles. Publishers likewise are developing a renewed appreciation for the importance of bookshops, while politicians have come to value the contributions bookshops make to culture and the economy--and that they pay much more in taxes than online competitors, particularly Amazon.

Much of the brighter picture for booksellers--which parallels what has happened in the U.S. in the last seven or eight years--has occurred in part because of Booksellers Association programs and efforts, Godfray continued. These have included lobbying efforts with politicians that have included receptions at Parliament; the establishment of the Parliament Book Awards (honoring works by parliamentarians and politics and voted on by parliamentarians); and helping to expand the all-party parliamentary group on publishing to include bookselling. In addition, the BA had the Centre of Business & Economic Research to do a study on the value of bookselling to the U.K. economy: the BA sent the report to every Member of Parliament and peer with a personalized letter. These efforts and lobbying in Brussels have also led to "considerable successes in the battle against Amazon," he said. This includes the fines against Amazon for receiving illegal state aid from Luxembourg and having its most favored nation e-book contracts outlawed as well as ongoing inquiries into Amazon's transfer pricing and how digital businesses are taxed.

"We have been able to turn this around," Godfray said. Booksellers and their representatives now tell politicians that they are wealth generators, they create jobs, they nurture the culture, and they pay taxes.

Nic Bottomley, new president of the Booksellers Association

As expected, changes in the BA's executive structure were approved. As announced in January, after 33 years as executive director of the BA, Godfray is stepping back from day-to-day operations and becoming executive chair of the BA Group, a new position, overseeing the association, Batch and National Book Tokens.

At the same time, Meryl Halls has been promoted to managing director of the BA, another newly created position. She has been with the association since 1988, serving as conference manager, membership manager and most recently head of membership services with "a key role on the senior management team."

In addition, head of marketing Alan Staton has been promoted to director of strategy and communication and Pippa Halpin will become membership manager.

Also at the meeting, Rosamund de la Hay, owner of the Mainstreet Trading Company in Boswell, Scotland, stepped down as president of the Booksellers Association and was replaced by Nic Bottomley, co-owner of Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath. Maria Dickenson, managing director of Dubray Books, which has eight bookshops in Ireland, and Andy Rossiter, co-owner of Rossiter Books in Monmouth and Ross-on-Wye, were voted in as vice-presidents. --John Mutter

Flyaway Books: The Coat by Séverine Vidal, illustrated by Louis Thomas

BookExpo, New York Rights Fair to Collaborate

BookExpo and the New York Rights Fair have agreed for NYRF to become the official rights fair of BookExpo, effective this year. The deal allows the two entities, they said, "to work together to offer the entire publishing industry the perfect gateway to the U.S. publishing market, including increased access to resurgent U.S. bookstores, and more opportunities for rights professionals to embrace the explosion in new media and rights opportunities."

Starting in 2018, NYRF and BookExpo will offer the following to all attendees:

  • NYRF badge holders will have full access to the BookExpo exhibition floor
  • BookExpo's Rights Center will move to NYRF and will become the official Rights Center of BookExpo. Rights-oriented exhibitors will have the option to move to premium space at the NYRF, located at the Metropolitan Pavillion on W. 18th St. between 6th and 7th Avenues.
  • BookExpo attendees with a rights badge designation will have full access to NYRF
  • Shuttle buses will be provided between BookExpo and NYRF
  • Information for both NYRF and BookExpo will be available in all directories and websites for both shows

"This relationship was born for the common goal of best serving the publishing industry," said Antonio Bruzzone, general director of BolognaFiere, which owns NYRF with Publishers Weekly and Combined Book Exhibit. "In our experience as organizers of the Bologna Children's Book Fair, we have always focused on the rights market, which is also the core of our engagement in the creation of NYRF. Today the partnership with BookExpo opens new and exciting opportunities to better support the dialogue between international and American publishing."

Ed Several, senior v-p, Reed Exhibitions, commented: "Over the past year, BookExpo has undergone a reimagination to offer more of the core values that attendees and exhibitors are looking for. We ... see this joint agreement as an opportunity to better serve the publishing industry."

PNBA Holiday Catalog 2022

Wanda Brown Is President-Elect of ALA

Wanda Brown

Wanda Brown, director of library services at the C.G. O'Kelly Library, Winston-Salem State University, Winston Salem, N.C., has been elected president-elect of the American Library Association. She serves as president-elect for one year, then will become president at the close of the 2019 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. Brown received 6,066 votes, while Peter Hepburn, head librarian, College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita, Calif., had 4,066 votes.

"It is truly an honor to be elected as the next ALA president," Brown said. "I thank you for the opportunity to lead. I look forward to working closely with the membership in advocating for libraries, fostering diversity and inclusion and demonstrating our profession's value."

An ALA member for 30 years, Brown is an active member of the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association for Libraries Collections & Technical Services, and the Library Leadership and Management Association. She has held multiple leadership positions within each division.

Brown has held numerous positions with the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, including her current one as treasurer (2016-2018). She was the 2011-13 president of the North Carolina Library Association and has held various other positions with NCLA. Brown has been honored with the 2015 DEMCO/ALA Black Caucus Award for Excellence, the 2013 BCALA Leadership Award, and the 2012 BCALA Distinguished Service Award. In 2009, she received University of North Carolina at Greensboro Kovacs Award for Outstanding Alumni Achievement and, in 2013, UNCG honored Brown with the School of Education Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award.

B&N Faces Revived Data Breach Lawsuit

In a 3-0 decision Wednesday, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago revived a lawsuit against Barnes & Noble Inc. that seeks to hold the company responsible for customer losses from a 2012 data breach, during which payment verification machines (PIN pads) were tampered with at 63 bookstores in nine U.S. states. Reuters reported that the court "said victims deserved a chance to seek damages for buying credit monitoring services, losing access to their money while banks reversed unauthorized charges, and spending time to set matters right."

Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook said a lower court judge wrongly concluded that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to sue over the "skimming" of credit and debit card data, including PINs. The case was returned to U.S. District Judge Andrea Wood in Chicago, who dismissed the lawsuit last June.

Obituary Note: J.D. McClatchy

Acclaimed poet and literary critic J.D. McClatchy died April 10. He was 72. McClatchy published eight volumes of poetry, including Hazmat, which was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize, and his most recent collection, Plundered Hearts: New and Selected Poems (2014).

In addition to his own essay collections, McClatchy was the editor or co-editor of numerous books, including works by James Merrill, Thornton Wilder, and Edna St. Vincent Millay. McClatchy was a longtime editor of the Yale Review, and a significant translator of opera libretti, from The Magic Flute to Miss Lonelyhearts. In addition, he was the literary executor for the poets Anthony Hecht and Mona Van Duyn, and co-executor for James Merrill. McClatchy is survived by his husband, Chip Kidd, associate director of cover art at Knopf, as well as three sisters: Edith Pahl, Joan Brennan and Elizabeth Davis.

Deborah Garrison, his longtime editor at Knopf, said: "He was the most admirable of poets because he combined formal discipline with a refusal to be formal in the subjects he treated--all was fair game, as he examined the hazardous materials of the body, the heart, and our troubling desires and needs. He was exacting in contemplating our failures, but he loved their aftermath, which he studied with that keen poet's awareness that we could be better, do better, and that beautiful things (the opera, good poems, dear friends) were our worthiest refuge. His life, too, was lived with precise purpose, and a breezy cheerfulness about the messiness of it all. Sandy always had time to gossip in the midst of myriad deadlines, and I marveled at the hours he logged in his dedication to the literary arts. His own work was a major contribution to American poetry, yet he rarely mentioned it because he was busily engaged in editing or enlarging the work of others. His part in shepherding multiple volumes of James Merrill's collected writings will remain a high point for me personally, as he taught me how to properly honor the poets we love, and how we can grow by inhabiting their work more deeply over time. This will be true for all of us when it comes to McClatchy's splendid poems, which will continue to reward and surprise us when we need them most."

The New York Times noted that among "McClatchy’s many laurels are two Lambda Literary Awards and Poetry magazine’s Levinson Prize. He was a past chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a past president of American Academy of Arts and Letters."

From his poem "Late Night Ode:

Some nights I've laughed so hard the tears
   Won't stop.  Look at me now.  Why now?
I long ago gave up pretending to believe
   Anyone's memory will give as good as it gets.

So why these stubborn tears?  And why do I dream
   Almost every night of holding you again,
Or at least of diving after you, my long-gone,
   Through the bruised unbalanced waves?



Image of the Day: Sloth at Parnassus

Sarah Heneghan, Alana Mills and Madeline Sturgeon, friends and co-workers at the boutique publishing house Post Hill Press, noticed how popular the animals had become recently and pitched their boss a book about sloths. Their book, Life Lessons from a Sloth, was published by Post Hill in March. This past Friday night, all three authors appeared at a signing for the book at Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tenn. Pictured: (l.-r.) Halley Perry of Parnassus Books; authors Heneghan, Mills and Sturgeon; and Michael Wilson, president of Post Hill Press.

The Wild Detectives: 'This House Became a Home'

"For nearly seven decades, the house at 314 W. Eighth St. in Oak Cliff was merely a domicile," the Dallas Observer wrote in a recent profile of the Wild Detectives bookstore, café and bar. "That was before Javier García del Moral and Paco Vique owned it. Four years ago, the duo broke down walls inside the former three-bedroom, one-bath, 836-square-foot house and in the process created the coolest bookstore/bar/cafe. Free from the duties that come with domesticity, this house became a home for Dallas' long-ignored literary community."

"The past four years showed us that a project like this is feasible, not just a pipe dream, but it also proved that it requires a lot of hard work, planning, organization and tough decisions, not just well intentions and passion," Moral said. "This anniversary, like the other three before it, means that we live in a city whose people support culture and that they're not afraid to experience new things and engage in new conversations. And yes, it is also a way to celebrate the amount of talent this city has by bringing some of our favorite bands to play in our backyard. Based on our experience in previous Wild Beats birthday celebrations, it's always been an awesome day."

Last spring, the Wild Detectives began to tweak its formula, and Moral said: "All these changes have the same goal--curate, curate and curate--so that we gain the trust of our customers when it comes to discover new things: a book, a band, a writer, a performance or a discussion. And it's been the same goal since day one."

Bookshop Signs of Spring Update: 4 Kids Books & Toys

"Is it Spring yet?" asked (pleaded?) 4 Kids Books & Toys, Zionsville, Ind., on Facebook as it shared a photo of the shop's message board, which read:

"For sale or trade: WINTER 2018 model with cold weather attachments. All parts intact (wind, random snow, freezing rain). Used condition. Outgrown. Free or best offer. Immediate porch pickup."

Personnel Changes at Little, Brown

Juliana Horbachevsky has joined Little, Brown as publicity manager. She was formerly senior publicist at the Crown Publishing Group and earlier worked in the publicity departments at Abrams and Gallery Books.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Matthew Desmond on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (Broadway Books, $17, 9780553447453).

Tonight Show: Tiffany Haddish, author of The Last Black Unicorn (Gallery, $26, 9781501181825).

This Weekend on Book TV: The San Antonio Book Festival

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, April 14
10:30 a.m. Reid Wilson, author of Epidemic: Ebola and the Global Scramble to Prevent the Next Killer Outbreak (Brookings Institution Press, $25.99, 9780815731351), at Kramerbooks and Afterwords in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Monday at 2 a.m.)

12 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Coverage from the San Antonio Book Festival, which occurred on April 7 at the Central Library and Southwest School of Art in downtown San Antonio, Tex. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.) Highlights include:

  • 12 p.m. A discussion on the U.S.-Mexico border with Francisco Cantú, author of The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border (Riverhead, $26, 9780735217713), and Stephanie Elizondo Griest, author of All the Agents and Saints: Dispatches from the U.S. Borderlands (University of North Carolina Press, $30, 9781469631592).
  • 1:05 p.m. Seamus McGraw, author of A Thirsty Land: The Making of an American Water Crisis (University of Texas Press, $27.95, 9781477310311).
  • 1:51 p.m. A discussion on immigration with Lauren Markham, author of The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life (Crown, $27, 9781101906187), and Natalia Sylvester, author of Everyone Knows You Go Home (Little A, $24.95, 9781542046374).
  • 2:51 p.m. A discussion on class in America with J.R. Helton, author of Bad Jobs and Poor Decisions: Dispatches from the Working Class (Liveright, $25.95, 9781631492877), Bryan Mealer, author of The Kings of Big Spring: God, Oil, and One Family's Search for the American Dream (Flatiron, $27.99, 9781250058911), and José Antonio Rodríguez, author of House Built on Ashes: A Memoir (University of Oklahoma Press, $19.95, 9780806155012).
  • 3:52 p.m. Henry Cisneros, co-author of Building Equitable Cities: How to Drive Economic Mobility and Regional Growth (Urban Land Institute, $14.95, 9780874204117).
  • 4:40 p.m. Mark K. Updegrove, author of The Last Republicans: Inside the Extraordinary Relationship Between George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush (Harper, $29.99, 9780062654120).

6 p.m. Keith E. Whittington, author of Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech (Princeton University Press, $24.95, 9780691181608).

7:30 p.m. Book TV tours Black Classic Press and interviews its founder, Paul Coates. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

8:30 p.m. A discussion on technology and its impacts on the brain with Leonard Mlodinow, author of Elastic: Flexible Thinking in a Time of Change (Pantheon, $28.95, 9781101870921), and Deepak Chopra, author of The Healing Self: A Revolutionary New Plan to Supercharge Your Immunity and Stay Well for Life (Harmony, $26, 9780451495525).

10 p.m. David Corn and Michael Isikoff, authors of Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump (Twelve, $30, 9781538728758). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Rod Dreher, author of The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation (Sentinel, $17, 9780735213302). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

Sunday, April 15
2:30 p.m. Hannah Jewell, author of She Caused a Riot: 100 Unknown Women Who Built Cities, Sparked Revolutions, and Massively Crushed It (Sourcebooks, $22.99, 9781492662921), at Kramerbooks and Afterwords in Washington, D.C.

4:30 p.m. Michael Honey, author of To the Promised Land: Martin Luther King and the Fight for Economic Justice (Norton, $25.95, 9780393651263). (Re-airs Monday at 4 a.m.)

5:47 p.m. Joseph Rosenbloom, author of Redemption: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Last 31 Hours (Beacon Press, $24.95, 9780807083383). (Re-airs Monday at 5:17 a.m.)

7:10 p.m. Jason Sokol, author of The Heavens Might Crack: The Death and Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. (Basic Books, $32, 9780465055913), at Water Street Bookstore in Exeter, N.H.

11 p.m. Sarah B. Snyder, author of From Selma to Moscow: How Human Rights Activists Transformed U.S. Foreign Policy (Columbia University Press, $30, 9780231169479), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.

Books & Authors

Awards: Best Translated Book Longlists

Longlists in both the fiction and poetry categories have been selected for the 2018 Best Translated Book Award, sponsored by Three Percent. Finalists will be announced May 15, and the winners named May 31, as part of the New York Rights Fair. 

"Nine readers of varied backgrounds, taste and experience came together to create an awards longlist reflecting just that," said fiction judge Patrick Smith. "There are new voices and powerhouse authors on the list. Amir Tag Elsir appears for the second time in three years--a quiet demand that places like Sudan be recognized for their contribution to world literature. From intimate books about families and relationships, to loud, wildly entertaining books, this list shows the strength of literature in translation, and that it’s for readers of all sorts. Anyone can find something on the list to engage with and to move them."

Poetry judge Emma Ramadan commented: "This year's poetry longlist was especially competitive, with the judges seeking to highlight works that bring something new into the English language. With eleven countries and three continents represented, the BTBA poetry longlist this year, as in years past, is a rich representation of what the rest of the world has to offer to our ways of thinking about the possibilities of literature."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, April 17:

A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership by James Comey (Flatiron, $29.99, 9781250192455) chronicles the career of the former FBI director.

The Only Story: A Novel by Julian Barnes (Knopf, $25.95, 9780525521211) explores the relationship between a young man and older woman.

Meghan: A Hollywood Princess by Andrew Morton (Grand Central, $27, 9781538747353) is a biography of Meghan Markle, who will marry Prince Harry on May 19.

If We Had Known by Elise Juska (Grand Central, $26, 9781455561773) follows a college professor whose former student commits a mass shooting.

Warning Light by David Ricciardi (Berkley, $27, 9780399585739) is a thriller about a CIA analyst unexpectedly turned into a field agent in Iran.

The Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love Without Becoming a Person You Hate by Fran Hauser (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9781328832955) is an executive's advice to young businesswomen.

Eat a Little Better: Great Flavor, Good Health, Better World by Sam Kass (Clarkson Potter, $32.50, 9780451494948) is a cookbook by a former White House chef and food policy advisor.

At Home with Natalie: Simple Recipes for Healthy Living from My Family's Kitchen to Yours by Natalie Morales and Ann Volkwein (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780544974494) is a cookbook written by a news anchor.

Krista Kim-Bap by Angela Ahn (Second Story Press, $11.95, 9781772600636) finds Krista accepting and loving her Korean heritage. (4/18)

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes (Little, Brown, $16.99, 9780316262286) follows a black boy, killed by a police officer, who comes back as a ghost.

The Good Daughter: A Novel by Karin Slaughter (Morrow,  $9.99, 9780062430250).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions: A Novel by Mario Giordano, translated by John Brownjohn (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9781328863577). "Introducing Auntie Poldi, a sixtyish amateur sleuth who stars as the heroine of Giordano's new series of delicious mysteries. She's sexy, outrageous, can't mind her own business, and has just retired to Sicily, where she intends to lay about and drink good wine for the rest of her days on the world's most fabulous island. Of course, things are soon stirred up by the murder of her hot young handyman, and Poldi becomes deeply involved. Great characters, fun plot, Italian charm--and what could be better reading for the chilly months than a novel set in sun-soaked Sicily? Don't miss what the Times Literary Supplement calls 'a masterful treat.' " --Lisa Howorth, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.

A Long Way from Home: A Novel by Peter Carey (Knopf, $26.95, 9780525520177). "Carey uses the Australian cross-country Redux auto trials of the 1950s to explore how the need to be accepted directs our motivations and, accordingly, our fates. Titch and Irene Bobs join up with their neighbor Willy Bachhuber, a maps expert, to race the Redux. For Titch, an opportunistic car salesman, the race represents the chance to seize national fame--and the respect of his larger-than-life father. Through the journey, Carey delves into Australia's virulent racism toward its indigenous populations and its embedded intolerance of miscegenation. As the miles accumulate, Irene and Willy's lives change in profound ways, and we, in turn, experience Carey's wit, heart, and intelligence, as well as his skill in bringing these characters and this place and time so vibrantly to life." --Lori Feathers, Interabang Books, Dallas, Tex.

One of the Boys: A Novel by Daniel Magariel (Scribner, $15, 9781501156175). "The intensity of this novel is such that you'll be relieved that it is not longer than its 176 powerful pages. When 'the war' with his wife ends, a man uses devious methods to win custody of his two sons, 12 and 14, packs them in his Jeep, and heads from Kansas to start a new life in Albuquerque. The boys are aware that their father uses drugs, but their loyalty to him and their youth keep them trapped in a home that soon becomes little more than a torture chamber as their father sinks further into his addiction. Narrated in excruciating detail by the younger son, this is a moving story about how parent/child love can be turned on its head by drug abuse. Excellent writing keeps one riveted in hope that the boys will survive." --Alice Meloy, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex.

For Ages 4 to 8
A Hippy-Hoppy Toad by Peggy Archer, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf (Schwartz & Wade, $16.99, 9780399556760). "Clever rhyming text bounces on the page with glorious illustrations. A perfect book for story times and lap times!" --Carol Moyer, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, N.C.

For Ages 9 to 12
The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (Greenwillow, $16.99, 9780062686206). "Boy (not 'boy') is a youngster living in an isolated community following the Crusades. Boy, who has a hump on his back and can speak to animals, grows under the care of Father Petrus, who has taught him to read and care for himself and has protected him from the community. Secundus, a wandering pilgrim, hires Boy to carry his bag on a trek to recover the relics of St. Peter. The tale of Boy begins and ends with wonder and encourages readers to think about who Boy is and how his relationship with Secundus evolves during their quest. An exceptional novel, The Book of Boy is a winner sure to satisfy the curiosity of middle readers of all ages." --Jack Blanchard, Fairy Godmother Books & Toys, Washington, D.C.

For Teen Readers
The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton (Candlewick, $18.99, 9780763691103). "Nor's family tree is thorny and full of secrets. Descended from a witch, cursed by her use of black magic, and doomed to enchanted, obsessed love, the Blackburn women have paid for an ancient crime for eight generations. But Nor is different, the ninth generation--her magic is stronger. And she knows she will need all of that power when her estranged mother begins making headlines with public displays of magic. Because magic comes with a price, and it's not counted in dollars. Gripping and dark, this bewitching family drama will have you reading to midnight!" --Leah Moore, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Love and Ruin

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain (Ballantine Books, $28 hardcover, 400p., 9781101967386, May 1, 2018)

In 1937, Martha Gellhorn was a fiery young journalist grieving her father's death and trying to carve out a path for herself. Ernest Hemingway was already an international sensation, after the success of his novel A Farewell to Arms. Their first meeting, in a bar near Hemingway's home on Key West, would begin a tempestuous love story that spanned countries and conflicts. Paula McLain (Circling the Sun) charts the dramatic highs and lows of Gellhorn's love affair with Hemingway in her fourth novel, Love and Ruin.

Gellhorn's narrative voice is strong from the start, as she describes the "beautiful crusade" of the Spanish Civil War and her longing to be swept up in a meaningful story. "For better or worse I was born a traveler," she says, relating her youthful wanderings from St. Louis to Paris, New York and eventually Spain, where she found her tribe amid the rough-edged, hard-drinking war correspondents. "It felt important merely to be here, to witness everything without turning away, and to write it all down," Gellhorn muses. "But then what?" The answer, at least partly, lay in her relationship with Ernest: first idol, then mentor and friend, eventually lover and husband. But their happiness, hard-won as it was, did not last, and McLain takes her protagonists (and readers) from love to ruin with clear-eyed compassion.

The outlines of Hemingway's life and loves are well known: McLain brilliantly evoked his first marriage, to Hadley Richardson, in her 2011 novel, The Paris Wife. But Gellhorn is less familiar: though she had a long and successful career as a journalist and novelist, she fought constantly to keep from being suffocated by the shadow of the man she loved. McLain's prose brings Gellhorn--the woman and the writer--to blazing, tenacious life, as she travels through war zones, deep grief and the anguish of loving a mercurial, damaged man. From Spain to Cuba to Finland, from London during the Blitz to the beaches of D-Day (where Gellhorn was the only woman among thousands of men), McLain deftly traces the parallel triumphs and heartache of a world wracked by war and a woman battling to build a life out of words, grit and love. 

"For me the war in Spain will always shine with the light of hard-won transformation," Gellhorn tells her readers. "It was like falling in love. Or looking up into the sky to see a burning arrow, which screamed to be followed." Love and Ruin, with its mesmerizing arc, shines with a similar light, and readers will find it impossible to look away. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Paula McLain's blazing fourth novel traces Martha Gellhorn's tempestuous relationship with Ernest Hemingway against a backdrop of war.

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