This book seemed really interesting but unfortunately, for whatever reason, I just couldn't get into it and was not able to finish reading it.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, Beautiful Exiles by Meg Waite Clayton. Thanks so much to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC for an honest review, as always, all opinions are my own.

The story, from what I did read, follows Martha, a young journalist covering the horrors of the Second World War. After meeting Ernest Hemingway in a dive bar in Key West, she continues her writing and eventually follows him to Spain. I believe they are supposed to go on to have a romance and get married, but I never made it that far.

Let me start off by saying that I don't really love Hemingway. I've only read one of his books, The Old Man and the Sea, and its hyper-masculine themes didn't really jive with me. That being said, I thought the concept of this book, the romance of a well-known author, would be an interesting read. I'm not sure how accurate Clayton's depictions of these real-life fictionalized characters are, but Hemingway at least seemed to reflect what I know of his personality.

I did appreciate how Hemingway's treatment of women in his fiction was called into question fairly early on. It's one of the major issues I have with his writing and I'm glad it was mentioned. I also really liked how Martha and her mother were worked into the story as being more liberal and often polarized their community with these views. It's easy to have these more feminist characters in recent works, but I'm glad Clayton addressed the repercussions of this view in the historical context without just shoe-horning modern day values into a historical fiction.

Overall, I think that this book had great potential but was ultimately a bit too weirdly written to really grab my attention. I never really got into the flow of the writing and found myself skimming sections, especially the closer I got to the point where I just gave up. I'm not sure if it was Clayton's writing style or the way the story was told but I just couldn't get into it.