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Hemingway's Girl

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  2,575 ratings  ·  484 reviews
“She remembered when Hemingway had planted a banyan at his house and told her its parasitic roots were like human desire. At the time she’d thought it romantic. She hadn’t understood his warning.”

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
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by NAL Trade (first published 2012)
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159th out of 1,672 books — 2,939 voters
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5th out of 45 books — 13 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This is just too bland to hold my interest. A novel about 1930s Key West should be full of spit and spice and scandal. This one limps along, soft and sissified. Vanilla pudding.

Grooooooaaaan. Chick lit dressed up as historical fiction. I think readers' enjoyment of this book is rooted more in their nostalgia for Hemingway and/or Key West than any other element of the novel. I've also come to the conclusion that my patience with a novel is inversely proportional to how many times the main characters blush, turn pale or gasp. As a person who does not blush from embarrassment or arousal, I am exhausted by writers who feel that they only way to convey a heroine's mood is t ...more
Re read this IN Key West, after visiting Hemingway's home twice. It made the book even richer. I tried to find Mariella's neighborhood at the end of Whitehead, and we visited Mallory Square, and went past the original site of Sloppy Joe's. I can SEE Mariella and Gavin on the Key, and I loved that.

Interesting side-line. I was checking out at the bookstore (BIG surprise,I know), and said to the young man that RObuck said there weren't any polydactyl cats on the property when Hemingway lived there.
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
I found this novel by accident and squealed in delight as I read the book which is very easy to read. Erika Robuck has done her homework on Hemingway, Key West, and the Great Hurricane of 1935 in which 1000 veterans lost their lives while building the road that ties the Keys to the Florida mainland. She even has the great author's scathing essay "Who Killed the Vets" that appeared in The New Yorker. Full disclosure here: Ernest Hemingway is without a doubt my favorite author, and I've always bee ...more
"Hemingway's Girl", the second novel by author Erika Robuck, begins in the early 1960's and quickly goes back in time to a brief period in the 1930's in the life of 19-year old Mariella Bennet, recounting the relationships she forms with two men. Poverty-stricken after her father's death and in desperate need of steady income to care for her widowed mother and two young sisters, Mariella secures a position as a maid in the home of famed author Ernest Hemingway. While polishing the silver and end ...more
Hemingway's Girl is a treat to read and I highly recommend it. Rich with Florida's Key West history (much of which I was unaware), the story is one of passions, jealousy, tragedy, temptation and love. Set in the Depression-era, the juxtaposition of the indulgent extravagance of the Hemingways in contrast to the hardships of WWI veterans is as fascinating as it is heartbreaking. All the characters are well developed, and Mariella Bennet is particularly wonderful. Added bonus: Robuck's description ...more
Hemingway's Girl was not at all what I expected it to be--and that turned out to be a good thing. The author's portrayal of Hemingway seems to be spot on from what I've read of him.
The characters in the book are all relatable and likable--Mariella, Gavin, John, Mariella's mother and sisters all have their own compelling storylines.
I won't spoil it by giving details, but I was very pleased with this book. It is story of friendship and it is a love story--but it will surprise you.
Dianna Rostad
First of all, I am terrified that I'm going to start smoking. Mariella is as tied to her cigarettes as she is to the sea. A living, breathing thing in this book and the only thing not smoking. The author clearly knows life near the ocean, and I'm convinced could survive with a fishing pole and some tobacco while the rest of us died in an apocalypse.

The first thing you sense about this story is that Mariella is not going to hide in the shade of Hemingway. The story is all hers, and though he is

Skip this and read The Paris Wife (if you haven't already!). For me, both the characters and the storyline were one dimensional and completely failed to captivate. Okay if you don't need a "deep" read, but so much missed opportunity, especially when you are working with historical figures like this.
In this enjoyable and evenly paced historical drama, the charismatic and mischievous Ernest Hemingway lurks around the edges of a flourishing romance between an impoverished and independent fisherman's daughter, and a scarred and selfless war veteran. Set in the lush tropics of the Florida Keys, the domestic conflicts within each family are harsh and brutally realistic. I applaud the author for skillfully weaving into her narrative the deplorable plight of the war vets and the disaster of the 19 ...more
Hemingway’s Girl is one of the most readable books I’ve read in a long time. It’s one of those books that grabs you from page one and never lets go. The characters were vividly placed in my mind by the author. She gave them voices that were believable and connected with me. The storyline was authentic and beautiful. I’d been to visit Key West a few years ago and was able to picture every scene in my mind. However, even if I’d never visited, I’d be able to see everything through the author’s eyes ...more
Christy English
A beautiful debut...I was in love with Hemingway before I started this novel, and I fell in love with Mariella and Gavin as I read this. Erika draws the readers into the world of Depression Era Key West where rich and poor live side by side. A lovely exploration of this time in Hemingway's life and a beautiful coming of age story. I did not want this book to end.
David Stone
As a young man I read Hemingway, at times because school demanded it, afterwards because I wanted to. As an older man I've been fascinated by Ernest Hemingway, the human being, as fictionalized in Paula McLain’s "The Paris Wife", Naomi Wood’s "Mrs. Hemingway" and Therese Anne Fowler’s "Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald”. For various reasons I’ve enjoyed all these novels, and in each Papa Hemingway played an important fictionalized character.

Erika Robuck is remarkably skilled in the realm of histori
Melissa Crytzer Fry
One of my friends joked with me recently that I am officially becoming a historical fiction fan. And, based on my reaction to this novel, she just may be right!

I learned so much while reading Erika Robuck’s second novel, a tender love story and fascinating tale of loss and growth interlaced with so much history about Depression-era Key West and the personal life of Ernest Hemingway (I had no clue about the veteran camps at Matecumbe Bay or even about many of Hemingway’s personality quirks, or th
Set in the mid 1930's with the Depression in full swing, HEMINGWAY'S GIRL focuses on the interactions between a young Cuban-American woman hired as the Hemingway's maid, an attractive WWI vet named Gavin who is working on the Overseas Highway which joins the various keys, and the discord between Hemingway and his wife Pauline. Adding to the drama is Mariella's self-imposed obligation to support her family, two younger sisters and a permanently depressed widowed mother.

Women, love, suffering, her
Hallie Sawyer
I LOVED this story! I had read very little about Ernest Hemingway's personal life prior to reading this novel but I feel like I know him based on Erika's depiction. She didn't sugarcoat him in any way, which I appreciated as a reader.

Mariella was a very relatable character as she struggles with the choices she needed to make while dealing with the aftermath of a family tragedy. I admired her for her tenacity and hard work, regardless of her flaws. She carries the enormous weight of her family o
Erika Robuck gave me a fly on the wall look not only into the great novelist Ernest Hemingway’s personal life in Key West, but the relationships he made and broke, the ruined economy of post WWI Key West and the multi-cultural residents who populated the area. With simple easy to read dialogue she painted a real picture of the area, the time and it’s people that was both informative and imaginative. Her protagonist Mariella Bennet was a fascinating specimen of fortitude, attitude and humility an ...more
Amy Zarn
As someone who has read several Hemingway novels and enjoyed them in one way or another, I wasn't sure how I would take this novel. Would they be casting Hemingway in a bad light? Would they be putting him on a pedestal? Either would have brought annoyance. What the author did was portray him in a very realistic light - do I know if it is truly realistic or an author's rendering? I don't. But it felt real, and that is what matters.

The story centers around Mariella, a young Cuban/American girl l
Jennifer King
HEMINGWAY'S GIRL is a fictional look into the life of writer Ernest Hemingway and his relationship with his 2nd wife told through the eyes of Mariella, a maid in Hemingway's house. Robuck's novel shines a spotlight onto Hemingway's time in the Florida Keys similar to author Paula McLain's novel about Hemingway's marriage to Hadley in Paris, France, THE PARIS WIFE.

In HEMINGWAY'S GIRL, author Erika Robuck takes readers back to 1935 along the Florida Keys where Ernest Hemingway lived with his secon
J.M. Maison
I rarely read historical fiction, but I am such a fan of Ernest Hemingway I had to read this book. And I'm so glad I did. Erika Robuck's HEMINGWAY'S GIRL takes place in the Florida Keys of the 1930s, a time completely unfamiliar to me, but one I was swept away in--just as I was in main character Mariella Bennet's life and complex relationships with Hemingway and boxer, veteran Gavin Murray.

To say HEMINGWAY'S GIRL is a glimpse into a period of Hemingway's life would do it a disservice (although R
Barbara White
As a Brit living in America, I know very little about Hemingway. I picked up this book with no pre-conceived expectations, and fell in love on the first page. I disagree with the reviewer who said the novel started slowly. I was sucked in from page one. Mariella is such a fabulous character, such a strong, vibrant woman. I was rooting for her from the moment we met. And Hemingway? Wow. I loved him, hated him, and was constantly drawn to him, as was Mariella. And Gavin was such a sweetheart. Yes, ...more
I am a huge fan of KW and most things Hemingway. So, when I saw this title, I knew it would be something I would want to read. I only hoped it would live up to my expectations. It did! Erika Robuck is a new author to watch. She has nailed the voice of Hemingway. And the research she has done is stellar. It shines throughout. The scenes she's recreated during the Labor Day hurricane of 1835 are nothing short of amazing. Cudos to you Erika.
A compelling read. Set primarily in 1935, the book features a strong young woman, Mariella, who comes to work for the Hemingway family in Key West. She's dealing with her own family's demons, so Papa's family only complicates things further. The book does tend toward melodrama, but it's immensely enjoyable nonetheless.
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Oh, Ernest Hemingway, you will slay me every time! I know it's a huge trend and some may consider it overdone but I love all of the books, particularly historical fiction books, that have been coming out about those surrounding really famous people. In the writing world, Ernest Hemingway is still regarded very well. His books are classics. His life was tumultuous, which makes him a perfect subject for a historical fiction writer to tackle. Erika Robuck does it with panache.

Mariella is a young w
The plot was very satisfying. Robuck infused not only a story of Mariella and Hemingway (Gavin too, creating a quasi love triangle) but several historical references adding a varied backdrop to the story - Cuban racial sentiment, veterans in road camps while constructing the Overseas Highway. The horrific details in regards to the 1935 Labor Day hurricane was very well done.

Mariella snatches the readers heart and interest. This young lady possess so many lovely qualities. Not a surprise she is
Hemingway’s girl is a beautifully written, fictional story of 19-year old Mariella, a Cuban-American woman who works for Ernest Hemingway in 1935 in Key West. It’s not a book about Ernest Hemingway, but it does revolve around him. The story focuses on Mariella, and this story is all hers. She develops a crush on Hemingway while working as a servant in his home, just as she is starting a romance with Gavin, a WWI vet, who is working on the Overseas Highway. Mariella, strong and independent, has b ...more
Book Concierge

In 1961, Mariella, a widow living on Key West with her 25-year-old son, is devastated by the news that Ernest Hemingway has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Her memories of Papa take the reader back to the summer of 1935, when she was just 19 years old and went to work in the Hemingway household as a housekeeper. Mariella Bennet’s father died of an apparent heart attack two years previously, and her mother has sunk into a depression that leaves her unable to deal with requirements
Oct 04, 2012 Cindi rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
Mariella, a young woman supporting her family after the death of her father, is hired as a maid by Ernest Hemingway. There is immediate tension as Mariella fights against the intense feelings she experiences whenever Hemingway is near. These feelings threaten to destroy a newly formed relationship with Gavin, a vet who treats Mariella and her family with tenderness.

The setting of Key West during the Great Depression where Hemingway lived with his second wife Pauline and their two boys is brought
As a bit of a Hemingway nut, I can report that this was a totally fun read and that author Erika Robuck stays as true as she possibly can to the various sources that she consulted to build fictional characterizations of Ernest Hemingway, Pauline Pfeiffer and their various family such as Ginnie Pfeiffer and the young Bumby, Patrick and Gregory Hemingway and friends such as John and Katy Dos Passos, Sara Murphy and others.

"Hemingway's Girl" is primarily set in the summer of 1935 in Key West, Flori
Erika Marks
Key West, 1935. Mariella Bennet has just lost her father and now must temper her dreams of starting a charting fishing boat business with the new responsibilities of caring for her ailing sister and her emotionally-crippled mother. When a chance encounter with Key West’s most famous resident Ernest Hemingway offers her a chance to work in the writer’s house, Mariella can no more deny the opportunity to offer financial security to her grieving family than she can deny her attraction to her employ ...more
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Too Mature for 19 years old??? 2 24 Dec 16, 2013 02:32PM  
Great New Books: Hemingway's Girl Wrap-up 1 7 Sep 26, 2012 04:53AM  
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  • The Beautiful American
  • The Age of Desire
  • Studio Saint-ex
  • Daniel O'Thunder
  • The Little Shadows
  • A Ticket to Ride
  • Death in Four Courses (Key West Food Critic Mystery, #2)
  • Shot on Location
  • The Lost Prince
  • San Miguel
  • The Far Side of the Sky
  • A Beautiful Truth
  • Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures
  • The Ruins of Lace
Historical fiction writer, book blogger, voracious reader. Erika's first novel, RECEIVE ME FALLING was self-published. Penguin Random House published HEMINGWAY'S GIRL, CALL ME ZELDA, FALLEN BEAUTY, THE HOUSE OF HAWTHORNE, and a short story anthology to which Erika contributed, GRAND CENTRAL: ORIGINAL STORIES OF POSTWAR LOVE AND REUNION.

Erika writes about and reviews historical fiction at her blog
More about Erika Robuck...
Call Me Zelda Fallen Beauty The House of Hawthorne Receive Me Falling Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion

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