Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Beautiful Exiles” as Want to Read:
Beautiful Exiles
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Beautiful Exiles

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  8,752 ratings  ·  539 reviews
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 frie
Kindle Edition, 366 pages
Published August 1st 2018 by Lake Union Publishing
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Beautiful Exiles, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Meg Clayton Pretty much everything, Pamela -- thanks for asking. The events of the novel are drawn from their actual lives, based on a lot of research (detailed i…morePretty much everything, Pamela -- thanks for asking. The events of the novel are drawn from their actual lives, based on a lot of research (detailed in the acknowledgments, but that is only the tip of the iceburg). So, for example, when Ernest uses the c-word ... I would not put that word in his mouth if I didn't have an account of him having said it.(less)
Bull Durham IMO somewhat like Blood Meridian - my favorite novel. Cormac did a lot of research and much in this extremely violent book is based on contemporary ac…moreIMO somewhat like Blood Meridian - my favorite novel. Cormac did a lot of research and much in this extremely violent book is based on contemporary accounts and actual people, places, things and happenings. And the dialog, of course, is invented, as is some (but not all) of the action.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,752 ratings  ·  539 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Beautiful Exiles
Meg Clayton
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
As Marta Gellhorn writes in an August 1940 letter to Charles Scribner, in explanation for why she is turning down his offer to pay her money in advance to write a book for him, “I could not do a book (a book, Charlie, think of the high pile of bare white paper that you have in front of you before there is even the beginning of a book), unless I believed awfully hard in it. Unless I wanted to do it so much that I could sweat through the dissatisfaction and weariness and failure and all the rest y ...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
I read LOVE AND RUIN by Paula McLain a couple of month's ago. That didn't stop me from wanting to read this book. I'm a big fan of biographical fiction and enjoy reading different versions of famous love stories. So, I was all game for another take on the Ernest Hemingway & Martha Gellhorn romance. And, I'm pleased to say that I enjoyed this book immensely.

This time did I have much more knowledge about Hemingway & Gellhorn thanks to McLain's book. However, I loved to once again read about this t
Sep 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Martha Gellhorn was an accomplished author and war correspondent. She also was Ernest Hemingway's third wife. Beautiful Exiles focuses on that tumultuous and doomed marriage. I would have enjoyed this book more if it had focused on Martha instead of Ernest with his narcissistic whiny behaviour. I did like Meg Waite Clayton's writing style and I will look for more from this author.

Thank you Lake Union Publishing and Netgalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Elizabeth Reed
Jul 27, 2018 rated it liked it
It took me forever to read Beautiful Exiles. I wanted to like this book but the whole time I was physically pained by how horridly Hemingway treated Martha - this perhaps attests to the Clayton’s skill in portraying Martha in the first person, but nonetheless it was difficult to read. The best parts of the book were when Martha was alone on assignment because she was authentically herself and able to pursue her passion for journalism. The writing is excellent, so I would recommend this to someon ...more
Pam Jenoff
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An incredible rendering of the story of journalist Martha Gellhorn and her tempestuous relationship with Ernest Hemingway from their days in Key West to their travels around the globe.
Nicole R
I recently listened to Love and Ruin by Paula McLain, and stumbled upon this book at the same time. I find it odd that two fairly prominent authors both released historical fiction books about the relationship between Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway a mere months apart. An online reading friend on PBT, Booknblues, suggested reading both and comparing, here I am.

First off, I liked Love and Ruin better for one simple reason: McLain's writing is beautiful. Waite Clayton is a fine wr
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read about Martha Gelhorn in the notes from this author's book Race for Paris. I was intrigued with her bravery and her goal to be one of the first women writers in France after the Normandy invasion. She was a feminist before her time. Reading this book made me want to learn more about her and her life after WWII and I found her to be a very interesting woman. Thanks to Meg Waite Clayton for her deep research into a small time period of this interesting woman's life.

Martha Gelhorn firs
I’m going to be honest and say Ernest Hemingway is a historical figure I know very little about. In fact, I’m someone who has never read an Ernest Hemingway novel. I keep telling myself I will, but I always find something else to read instead. I will have to change that, at some point, if only to end my curiosity, but for now I was more than willing to give Meg Waite Clayton’s Beautiful Exiles a read. Although this is not a book about Ernest Hemingway in the usual sense of books about the figure ...more
I wanted to be sure to get a review in ofBeautiful Exiles for those wanting a comparison with Paula McLain's Love and Ruin. I enjoyed reading Beautiful Exiles and hope to read more by Meg Waite Clayton. I thought that she did a good job of capturing Hemingway and the lingo of the era.

I like her representation of Martha Gelhorn as a writer and a person. She was funny, brave and daring. She didn't back down from what she believed in. She admired Hemingway from the first and moved from being a frie
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was slow to start (possibly because I was received an electronic copy and had to get used to reading on my phone) but so enjoyable as you learned more about Martha and delved into her relationship with Hemingway. Martha quickly became my favorite Hemingway wife that I've read about. I didn't know what an established writer she was prior to reading this novel and oftentimes found myself frustrated with her throughout the book as she let Hemingway keep her from following her calling to t ...more
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Review refers to audio book version, narrated by Kirsten Potter)

I must confess that I kept putting off listening to this book, as I have read other books concerning Hemingway and was expecting this to be pretty similar, but once I actually began listening the reality was quite different. Told from Gellhorn's perspective, Kirsten Potter's narration really brings the story to life. We get a flavour of what it is to be a writer, something which initially brings Gellhorn and Hemingway together, rep
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Lake Union Publishing for sending me a free copy.
Meg Waite Clayton’s novel about the relationship of journalist Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway is obviously well-researched. In her author’s note she describes the books, articles, letters etc. used to flesh out events and characters.

The book begins in 1936 when Gellhorn meets Hemingway. Over the course of their relationship they travel a good part of the world, witnessing and reporting on remarkable events. The two carry more emoti
Katie Brons
Jul 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book. I wanted a book with a strong female character. She wasn’t portrayed as strong at all. I know that she’s not a character—Marty was a real person. But she didn’t feel real. She wasn’t that developed.

The writing was just all over the place. It felt like one person wrote the first half and another wrote the second half. At times the writing wouldn’t be descriptive and then the author would remember to be descriptive, so she’d add overly descriptive sections in the book.
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ironic that a book told from the point of view of a remarkable journalist would - literally - bury the lede. Which is why I give it four stars, not five.

This book was a riveting read, and I found myself completely engrossed in the life of this fascinating woman I knew very little about. I have always hated the term "artist in her own right," and this is the reason why. Martha Gellhorn's accomplishments at least come close to matching Ernest Hemingway's, and unlike Hemingway who chose alcohol an
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I must admit right now that despite having been an avid reader my entire life and having visited Hemingway sites in Key West and Paris, and purchasing “A Movable Feast at Shakespeare and Company, I have not read a single Hemingway book. True confession!
I have however read a number of fictional accounts of his life and loves, but have never really seen any glimmer of his appeal. Even a recent novel about Earnest and Martha left me with the single thought of “what could she possibly see in that
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Ok, admittedly, I knew not much about either Hemingway or Martha Gellhorn. I have read a Hemingway novel but that was the extent. I do however love historical fiction as well as non-fiction. It was a beautiful story the captured my heart and I was not even sure I wsgoing to like Gellhorn immediately. Clayton writes with eloquent fluidity and shares her ability to encompass all traits of both characters with the reader. I hope that this one day becomes a movie
Not having been an English major in college, somehow I've gotten away without having read much of Ernest Hemingway. I believe I had to read The Sun Also Rises in high school, but I recall not enjoying it very much. Then again, it was twenty years ago, and maybe I was too young for it. I'm not entirely certain where I came across this novel, but now I'm rather annoyed I spent four days on it.

When you sit down to read this, it flies by rather quickly. But I didn't care for the format at all. Each
Kate Laird
I really struggled with this book and ended up skim reading the second half to finish it since I didn’t want to not finish it. I really enjoy works the “Lost Generation” and enjoyed the honesty accompanied with who Hemingway was. Overall it was very enjoyable to read about those years of his life. My major issues came from the writing style.
*Maybe these should be considered spoilers but if you picked up this book you likely know your Hemingway history so I don’t really think anything can be spoi
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Elkhorn a woman ahead of the times

Not having known a great deal about Hemingway and nothing about Gellhorn, I found this book to be very informative. Martha Gellhorn's life starts out very slow but the pace rapidly increases as the wars of the world and the internal wars of Hemingway rapidly develop. As many great women of that era questioned their desire to be more than housewife and mother, the expectations of their day & the demand of the spouse, so too did Gellhorn grapple with this. Heming
Jen Renda
Jul 19, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I just can't get into this book. I'm half way through and dread every time I pick it up. Really wanted to like it- this is a time period I like
May 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
I would not have thought it possible that I could dislike Ernest Hemingway more than I already did.
I'm embarrassed that I knew nothing about Martha Gellhorn. She desperately wanted to be known for her own work and in her own right but for the years they were together, she lived in Ernest Hemingway's shadow which is a bit how I felt reading Beautiful Exiles. I wanted Martha to cast him off and fly but the story doesn't go that far (it ends soon after their divorce; I don't think that's much of a spoiler--common knowledge he had four wives.) I suspect the rest of her life was equally if not mor ...more
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Summer of 2018 has witnessed the publishing of two novels about the relationship, affair and marriage of Martha Gellhorn to Ernest Hemingway. After reading "Love and Ruin" by Paula McClain, I was interested in seeing how Meg Waite Clayton would deal with the same material in "Beautiful Exiles". While I liked the McClain novel, it felt rather incomplete to me ... somehow the ending didn't work well. It was reading Clayton's novel that I discovered why the first book did not completely satisfy me ...more
This book made me want to read books and other writing by Martha Gellhorn. It also made me think—again, as it did when I read The Paris Wife by Paula McClain that Hemmingway must have been a very nasty person to be married to! He might have been a good / great writer, but not at all a nice person.

However, you might have thought that wife #3—Martha Gellhorn—might have had a clue before she married him, having some knowledge of how he treated wives #1 and #2.....

Update: Thinking about this review
Joan Gelfand
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this fast paced book, Waite Clayton gives us an honest picture of Gellhorn the war journalist and novelist and her paramour turned husband Ernest Hemingway. Starting out as a mentor/mentee relationship, the two become romantically involved and then married.

Written in first person from the POV of Gellhorn, I had the feeling that the author was channeling Gellhorn in all of aspects of her complicated personality; the need to have a partner, the need to be a solo operator, the need to have a fa
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Two-haiku review:

Journalist Gellhorn
Meets and falls for Hemingway
Relationship storms

Written first person
Great look into Gellhorn's life
Very well researched

Just as good as Love and Ruin. Loved both books.
The Lit Bitch
Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

I watched this absolutely wonderful HBO miniseries called Hemingway and Gellhorn in 2012. I had major movie hangover after watching it. IMBD users didn’t seem to like it as much as I did, but for whatever reason this movie just resonated with me and I was fascinated by this couple I knew nothing about.

I knew that Hemingway was moody and an all around asshole but that he wrote beautifully. Full disclosure, I haven’t read a single Hemingway book—-but I’ve read enough Hemingway quotes to d
Bonnye Reed
July 1 First Read from Kindle Unlimited
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fact based work of fiction centering on the relationship between writer Earnest Hemmingway and the famous war correspondent and journalist Martha Gellhorn who became Hemmingway's third wife. They met while Hemmingway was still married to his second wife and often worked in the same war-torn countries starting with the Spanish Civil War and continuing into World War Two. After a long affair marked by many separations, Hemmingway finally filed for divorce from his second wife Pauline and ...more
Gloria Soliz
Sep 30, 2018 rated it liked it
I was very interested in the story ... but I had a hard time with the writing . I was actually surprised I got through it. I felt like the stream of thought in the paragraphs ran together too much.

Learning more about Hemingway and Gellhorn though was intriguing enough for me to finish the book. Would love to read some of Gellhorn’s books and war articles from Collier’s.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Tenth Island: Finding Joy, Beauty, and Unexpected Love in the Azores
  • The King Tides (Lancaster & Daniels, #1)
  • Whisper Me This
  • Hotel Sacher
  • The Snow Gypsy
  • The Lines We Leave Behind
  • The Ragged Edge of Night
  • Stray: Memoir of a Runaway
  • A Killer's Mind (Zoe Bentley Mystery, #1)
  • The River Widow
  • Without a Country
  • The Things We Don't Say
  • De Amerikaanse prinses
  • The Storyteller's Secret
  • Sluta aldrig gå - Från gatan i Sao Paulo till Vindeln i Norrland
  • La dernière des Stanfield
  • The Road Beyond Ruin
  • Winter Loon
See similar books…
Meg Waite Clayton is a New York Times bestselling author of the forthcoming THE LAST TRAIN TO LONDON (HarperCollins, Sept 10, 2019), the #1 Amazon fiction bestseller BEAUTIFUL EXILES, the Langum-Prize honored national bestseller THE RACE FOR PARIS -- recommended reading by Glamour Magazine and the BBC, and an Indie Next Booksellers' pick -- and THE WEDNESDAY SISTERS, one of Entertainment Weekly's ...more

Related Articles

Last year, author Heather Morris' debut novel The Tattooist of Auschwitz, based on the true love story of Holocaust survivors wh...
51 likes · 73 comments
“I waited. I’ve found if you can leave a silence alone, someone else will fill it.” 1 likes
“They’re to be seen, not owned, like every beautiful thing in this world, including you.” 1 likes
More quotes…