The Only Woman in the Room

Marie Benedict. Sourcebooks Landmark, $25.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4926-6686-8
In her rousing historical novel, Benedict (Carnegie’s Maid) imagines lesser known aspects of Hedy Lamarr’s life—before she took the film world by storm in the ’40s, and her later efforts as a hobbyist inventor during her acting years. In 1933, 19-year-old Hedwig “Hedy” Keisler, of Jewish heritage, is performing in a stage production in Vienna when she catches the eye of military munitions manufacturer Friedrich Mandl. His wealth and influence in the face of threats to Austria’s precarious independence lead Hedy’s parents to encourage a union. Mandl is a controlling, abusive husband, but the keenly intelligent Hedy—whose intellectual curiosity was always encouraged by her father—absorbs every word of her husband’s meetings with high-level political and military operatives, hiding her growing horror at her husband’s willingness to offer concessions to fascist influences. In 1937, Hedy escapes his hold and heads to Los Angeles, where she takes the screen name of Lamarr and strikes a lucrative contract with MGM. As her career blossoms and war wages in Europe, Hedy, learning of Hitler’s treatment of Jews, sets out to create something that could change the stakes in the Allied effort: a radio-guided torpedo system far superior to the one already in use. Benedict paints a shining portrait of a complicated woman who knows the astonishing power of her beauty but longs to be recognized for her sharp intellect. Readers will be enthralled. Agent: Laura Dail, Laura Dail Literary Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/2018
Release date: 01/01/2019
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 978-1-4328-6917-5
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-4926-6689-9
Library Binding - 978-1-4328-5790-5
MP3 CD - 978-1-978678-67-5
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