Book Reviews

Hemingway's Daughter

Tell Me When It Hurts

The Rage of Plum Blossoms

This was a thoroughly enjoyable read from the first page to the last. Please note that a familiarity with Ernest Hemingway’s writings is not necessary, but would enhance the appreciation of the quotes at the beginning of each chapter as well as the references to characters and plot points of his books.

In life, Hemingway had three sons, but no daughter. Whitehead has created this fictional character with such finesse that the story becomes totally believable. Filled with the complexities of Hemingway’s personal life and career, the novel unfolds is simple, yet effective prose. The dialogues are natural and reflect the multidimensional aspects of the relationships between the characters. From reading a brief biography of Hemingway, the author appears to have stayed true to many of the events and people that peppered his life. For all the drama portrayed in the book, it never deteriorated into melodramatic affectation.

Findley (aka Finn, aka “Flea”) is an engaging character. Her relationship with her father is paradoxically one of a deep loving bond, yet fraught with her insecurity in not knowing her place in his life’s priorities. Like many gifted, creative people, Hemingway was self-centered and suffered emotionally and physically for his art form. Finn understood this, but craved to be foremost in his focus. I appreciated her strong character and her desire to challenge the prevailing attitude that women could not compete in a man’s domain – in this case becoming a successful litigation attorney.

In essence this is a love story of a woman who struggled to reconcile her deep need for connection with a belief that the “Hemingway Curse” made it impossible to experience true and lasting love. Her father’s multiple marriages and affairs underscored this belief and challenged her to risk living life on her own terms rather than avoiding the vulnerability inherent in loving someone. My thanks to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for the privilege of reviewing this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
A Thoroughly Enjoyable Novel
Christine Whitehead has created the daughter Ernest Hemingway never had, and always wanted. Finn Hemingway is far more than convincing. Over the course of 400+ pages she becomes compelling, and most certainly real. She tests her Papa, finding ways to deal with his drinking, womanizing, and selfishness. She appreciates her famous father's writing, but doesn't let it excuse his excesses. She sees that she has to carve out her own place in life, and therein lies the story. If you love the romance in Hemingway's novels, you will love this book. It's that good.
A Book That Lives Up To Its Title
Peter L. Heyrman
Thoroughly enjoyed the book and the authors writing style. Great storytelling, much like Hemingway, a lot was woven through to think about more deeply.
Great book!
Nora padykula
I couldn't put this book down! It's so well written that you will really believe that Hemingway had a daughter. And Whitehead's understanding of the father-daughter relationship and how it shapes the way we love is spot-on!! Whitehead weaves the facts of Hemingway's life seamlessly with the fiction. I laughed, I cried, I anticipated and I was surprised. I can't wait for the movie!
Whether you are a Hemingway fan or not, you will become a Whitehead fan
Linda K Kehoe
If Hemingway had a daughter, Flea, would be her in many ways. It’s left to the reader to understand the connection between them. Finley Hemingway is as complicated as Hem, yet she comes to find and accept a second love, never gives up and lives an amazing life as a lawyer, horsewoman with a competitive edge that leads to success. Another great novel by Christine Whitehead.
Fascinating read
Linda Hanna Lloyd
The story grabbed me right from the beginning and took me all the way through a lovely story of a young woman finding her way in life. The characters were developed beautifully and the scenes came to life. The book left me wanting to read more books from this author!
Loved it!
I am thoroughly enjoying this clever and well written book. The characters are intriguing and multidimensional. I find myself thinking of them during my day, wondering what they will be up to next, and looking forward to sitting down with them again.
Pulls you right in
J C David Hadden
"Loved this book! Couldn’t put it down & read it in 2 days. I wasn’t sure how the author was going to be able to make the concept of Hemingway having a daughter feel authentic but the relationship Ms Whitehead crafted between Papa Hemingway & Finley came across as so believable & true that I was swept up in the possibility that she might’ve actually existed! Excellent character development! I’ve read a lot of material on Hemingway’s complicated life & loves and was impressed with the historical accuracy, not only regarding Hemingway but also of the various time periods, such as the fact that women weren’t seen as capable or smart enough to have a legal career. There were times throughout the book where I cheered Finn on or felt her pain. I won’t add any “spoilers” but will encourage readers to dig into this very impressive and thoroughly enjoyable novel. If you have an affinity for anything Hemingway, add this to your list!"
If Hemingway had a daughter she would have been Finn!
M. Gould
"Grief, Intrigue, mystery and plenty of scenic description to make you feel like you’re right there with the characters. Couldn’t put this one down from start to finish. Love it."
Lovely story to get stuck into