Finding Hemingway by Ken Dortzbach

Thank you to Books Forward PR and Ken Dortzbach for my advanced reader’s copy of Finding Hemingway!

About Ken Dortzbach

Ken Dortzbach is a native of Madison, Wisconsin. A graduate of Princeton University and the Northwestern University School of Law, he practiced law internationally for almost twenty years, including living abroad and working in countries across the globe. During that time, he found a special appreciation for Spain’s history and culture; when it came time to pen his first novel, the country became the perfect backdrop for his book. In combining his passion for Spain with his longstanding interest in Ernest Hemingway, Finding Hemingway was born. He has two kittens—along with two grown children. Ken and his wife now live in Wisconsin and divide their time between Milwaukee and Madison; they enjoy traveling far and wide together. To learn more about Ken’s work, please visit:

Finding Hemingway

The novel opens on Callie McGraw sitting at home in her New York apartment. She was laid off from her (second) impressive job just a week ago. It gave her enough money to be comfortable and not stressed about finding more work.

She gets a phone call and meets up with one of her old law school friends, Matt. Matt has a job for her, but it doesn’t start for six months. Then, she gets another call from Ernest Hemingway, telling her to find him in Spain. She packs her bags and heads for a six month endeavor through Spain, finding friends and lovers wherever she goes.

My Thoughts

Honestly, Finding Hemingway lost me very early. Homegirl magically gets a phone call that leads to a job offer? She has six months and enough money just to drop everything and go to Spain?

Also, let’s get this straight: IF YOU GET A CALL FROM A STRANGE MAN CLAIMING TO BE ERNEST HEMINGWAY, DO NOT DROP EVERYTHING AND FLY TO ANOTHER CONTINENT. Good gracious. Stranger danger like nobody’s business.

Full disclosure, that all happens within the first 20 pages, which is where I put the book down. Our lead wasn’t believable, nor could I relate to her. Part of me believes it’s because it was written by a man. Now, I know that there are so many men out there that write wonderful female characters, but not this one. I mean, the second to last sentence of the book is as follows:

Of course I was right, my dear Spanish lover, of course I was right.

Ken has a lot of potential, but I don’t think Finding Hemingway worked for him.

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