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“Clayton uses her meticulous research skills to bring to life the wartime years of Martha Gellhorn… Clayton’s take on their boozy, love/hate relationship is packed with details of the war … a dramatic backdrop for her fictional tale of two vivid personalities and world-altering writers.” —Booklist (starred review)
From New York Times bestselling author Meg Waite Clayton comes a riveting novel based on one of the most volatile and intoxicating real-life love affairs of the twentieth century.
Key West, 1936. Headstrong, accomplished journalist Martha Gellhorn is confident with words but less so with men when she meets disheveled literary titan Ernest Hemingway in a dive bar. Their friendship—forged over writing, talk, and family dinners—flourishes into something undeniable in Madrid while they’re covering the Spanish Civil War.
Martha reveres him. The very married Hemingway is taken with Martha—her beauty, her ambition, and her fearless spirit. And as Hemingway tells her, the most powerful love stories are always set against the fury of war. The risks are so much greater. They’re made for each other.
With their romance unfolding as they travel the globe, Martha establishes herself as one of the world’s foremost war correspondents, and Hemingway begins the novel that will win him the Nobel Prize for Literature. Beautiful Exiles is a stirring story of lovers and rivals, of the breathless attraction to power and fame, and of one woman—ahead of her time—claiming her own identity from the wreckage of love.
“… so well written that at times I forgot I was reading a novel, and instead found myself immersed in the roar of battle, either on the front lines or in their living room. This is highly recommended reading because the plot is well paced, the characters ring true, and the story reveals the difficulties of two strong-willed people at odds with one another.” – Historical Novel Society, which chose Beautiful Exiles as an Editors’ Choice
“Riveting … Fascinating!” – Andrea Peskind Katz in Good Life Family Magazine
“Clayton (The Wednesday Sisters, The Race for Paris) delves into the tumultuous relationship between Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, his third wife. The writing is rich with detail; the exotic locales—from Madrid during the Spanish Civil War to D-day on Normandy’s Omaha Beach to the couple’s home in Cuba—are vividly portrayed; and major figures of the day from Eleanor Roosevelt to Gary Cooper make an appearance… Gellhorn, an accomplished novelist and war correspondent, was overshadowed in life and death by the Hemingway legend, although we can now be grateful that [Gellhorn’s] legacy is being celebrated in [this strong work] of historical fiction. – Library Journal