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Friday, December 28, 2018

The Only Woman In the Room by Marie Benedict



This was a fabulous read to end 2018. It had much to admire and learn. Set first in Vienna in a well established Jewish family, we have a young Heidi an accomplished debutante in the field of drama with a doting father and an antagonistic mother.

Very soon she catches the eye of a business magnate Fritz Mandl, whose arms dealings and factories have made him a millionaire. He moves with the uppermost sections of society and when his eye falls on Heidi, there is no way out for her. Her marriage takes place and Fritz begins to control every aspect of her life. Who she sees to where she goes, not given any room for anything to do with the many houses he owns, she is merely an ornament to adorn his world. Heidi is a clever woman and Fritz begins to see what an asset she is to his business with her acute business sense and awareness of people.

However when things turn ugly in the Mandl household, and when she is a virtual prisoner in her own home, Heidi plans her escape. Successfully entering the Hollywood scene her new life emerges. Not just a second marriage and the adoption of a baby boy, but  her real scientific talent blossoms with the manufacture of a system which will prevent ships being torpedoed. Turned down by the American Navy for the flimsiest and most chauvinistic of reasons, which made me so angry, the prototype of what Hedy Lamarr put together with her partner is followed by the navy today. Even our cell phones use a system which was manufactured or rather put together by her.

No one knows of this part of the glam girls history. That she was responsible for raising 2.5 million pounds in one dance hall performance is one of the highlights of her life. What she actually did is not known - her scientific mind and bent, her obviously above average intelligence was ignored by the powers that be. So sad.

Despite this woman being born in modern times, she did not get a fair chance to shine. This part made me feel very unhappy at the way she was treated. People could not visualize other than what her physical appearance projected, which was glamour and beauty.

Gorgeous story sent to me by Netgalley, for an unbiased review, courtesy of Sourcebooks Landmark.

11 comments:

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Mystica, I'd no idea Hedy Lamarr had been an inventor. What a revelation! I read more about it on her profile pages.

bermudaonion said...

I'd never heard of this book until I got an email from my local bookstore this morning saying the author will be here in January. I need to get my hands on this.

Yvonne said...

This sounds excellent. I'll have to add it to my list.

stacybuckeye said...

I missed the author at our local library this week! :( I haven't read this one but did read her Carnegie's Maid - also good.

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