The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post

Allison Pataki. Ballantine, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-0-593-35568-8
Pataki (The Queen’s Fortune) glides through the life of a real-life cereal heiress in this glossy if hollow portrait. Marjorie’s money comes from her father, C.W. Post, who at the turn of the 20th century makes a fortune by producing healthy and quick foods like Grape-Nuts. Unhappy and rudderless after her parents’ divorce, she quickly accepts a marriage proposal from a rich lawyer. This begins a cycle of marriages and divorces (four of each), netting Marjorie three daughters, one of whom becomes an actor. After WWI, Marjorie takes a more active interest in the Post company, spearheading a major expansion through the acquisition of Birdseye Frozen Foods and General Foods. While married to the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union in the 1930s, Marjorie buys up Russian artwork and jewelry that becomes the core collection of her mansion in Washington, D.C., which she later wills to the Smithsonian. Lots of notable things happen in Marjorie’s life, but Pataki fails to craft them into a satisfying plot or come up with a significant challenge for Marjorie to overcome. Instead, Marjorie comes across as a pleasant person met at a party and promptly forgotten by the next day. In a crowded field of novels revisiting strong women from recent history, there’s little to make this one stand out. Agent: Lacy Lynch, Dupree/Miller & Assoc. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 12/01/2021
Release date: 02/15/2022
Genre: Fiction
Book - 978-0-593-35569-5
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