Hemingway’s Girl by Erika Robuck is a fast read, and I recommend it. It’s a historical novel set in 1935 (with a prologue and epilogue from 1961) in Key West and features Ernest Hemingway and his family. But the protagonist of the book, the primary narrative consciousness, is Mariella, a young woman who works as a maid in the Hemingway household.
She loves Papa and sometimes despises him. She also loves her father, who has recently died, and a soldier she meets, Gavin, a veteran of the First World War.
The book begins with a 1961 prologue that tells us Papa Hemingway has recently killed himself. We also meet Mariella’s son, Jake. Knowing her fondness for Hemingway, and recalling that Jake Barnes was the protagonist of The Sun Also Rises, the reader now must keep reading to find out if Mariella’s son is the product of a relationship with Ernest. I’m not telling.
Besides that clever trickery, the book does have a slight tendency toward melodrama–there’s a hurricane scene at the climax of the books that feels a little over the top to me–but is nonetheless very readable. I enjoyed spending these past hours with these characters, and I recommend the book.