Hyper-focused, overachieving New York lawyer Callie McGraw has six months between jobs and a hefty severance check when she is called to Spain by Ernest Hemingway. She begins packing her bags for the sun-kissed streets that night. Starting in Barcelona, Callie embarks on a six-month escapade of a lifetime, a whirlwind of Spanish food, wine, art and dancing, with a revolving cast of friends and lovers keeping her company in each new locale. Callie’s next cocktail is never far away, but Hemingway knows her secrets, the demons that plague her deep down. With each mysterious call and each enigmatic clue, Hemingway challenges her to open herself to laughter, passion and love. Ultimately, he defies Callie to face her greatest fears and embrace life on her own terms.
I wanted to like this book so much. The premise appealed to me and I really liked the idea of Callie, the main character, being independent enough to travel to Spain for six months alone. I started off enjoying the book and the writing is good. But then it lost momentum. Callie met Trevor, also drifting, and struck up a very strange relationship where he followed her lead completely while Callie seemed to rate him very low, judging by the number of faults she found with him. The story itself felt as though it was drifting – from bar to bar and cafe to cafe with brief interludes to sight see or sleep at the hotel. At this point I was still enjoying the book while I was reading it, but I wasn’t feeling any need to get back to it as soon as possible. Then Callie met Claudio – who quite frankly was too good to be true – and around the 40% mark is where the book lost me. Callie turned into an unlikeable diva, overreacting to ridiculous things but we were expected to believe that the men around her thought she was wonderful! Once I stopped liking Callie it made it difficult for me to enjoy the book, despite the good writing, because I really need to like or at least relate to or sympathise with the main character in some way.