I bought this book in 2012 and had it floating around in my library until recently, when I decided to give it a try. In retrospect, I’m glad I read it now at my 28 years of age and not back in 2012 when I was only 21 years old. I don’t think I would have understood it or enjoyed it so much back then when I hadn’t yet lived through all of the varied and oftentimes intense experiences that your twenties can bring. I am a big fan of Ernest Hemingway and consider him one of my literary idols, which is why I knew I had to try this book sooner or later.
Well, the moment had come, and I am so glad I finally picked up this book a few days ago, which I read very quickly because it’s so entertaining. It does a splendid job in characterizing Hemingway by offering fun tidbits and about the life and personality of one of my favorite literary heroes, and by delivering honest and laconic dialogue from him. The rest of the characters in this novel some fictional, some not, are also so well-constructed and vivid that I grew to really care about them almost as if they were real, something that hadn’t happened to me while reading a book in a long time. I even cried like three times towards the end of the book–before, during and after the climax of the story–which proves how much this book made me *feel*, something I think I needed right now.
I enjoyed the sense of morality that is interspersed and weaved into the descriptions of natural human passion, and how moral impulses fight pasional ones. I liked that Mariella, the fictional protagonist, became the heroine of it all towards the end. I needed nobility to win in this story, and I am so happy it did. This is a smart and well-crafted book, and I would definitely recommend to fans of historical fiction or Ernest Hemingway.