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Reviewed by Shrabastee Chakraborty for Readers' Favorite
Despite having three sons, Ernest Hemingway, one of the greatest novelists ever, always craved a daughter. What if Hemingway had had a daughter? What if that daughter was a strong-willed woman who strived to make her mark in the law business, a male-dominated profession at that time? In Hemingway’s Daughter, Christine M. Whitehead explores these possibilities by introducing Finley Richardson Hemingway, an imaginary daughter from Ernest’s first marriage. The novel focuses primarily on Finley and her relationship with her world-famous father. As she grows up in the shadow of Hemingway, her life choices gradually come into the limelight. The novel sheds light on the illustrious character of Hemingway as well, redefining his rigorous writing process and his books.
Hemingway’s Daughter is a beautiful book, merging a memoir and a coming-of-age story. While the central character never existed in reality, you couldn’t have guessed it from the book. Christine M. Whitehead seamlessly incorporated Finley into Hemingway’s life while strictly maintaining the timeline of the actual events. She described the unique chemistry between them - the daughter vying for her father’s undivided attention yet learning to accept his ultimate devotion to his works. Finley Hemingway did not want to be overshadowed and did not want to bask in the reflected glory, either. She fought to pave a path for herself in a field that did not accept women. Despite having a skewed and unflattering view of love, gleaned from her father’s four marriages, she learned to define it on her own terms. This is a gem of a book. I would recommend this heartwarming read to anyone who wishes to read realistic fiction.