WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict

The New York Times and USA Today Bestseller!

She possessed a stunning beauty. She also possessed a stunning mind. Could the world handle both?

Her beauty almost certainly saved her from the rising Nazi party and led to marriage with an Austrian arms dealer. Underestimated in everything else, she overheard the Third Reich’s plans while at her husband’s side, understanding more than anyone would guess…..”

“Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than ten years’ experience as a litigator at two of the country’s premier law firms, who found her calling unearthing the hidden historical stories of women. Her mission is to excavate from the past the most important, complex and fascinating women of history and bring them into the light of present-day where we can finally perceive the breadth of their contributions as well as the insights they bring to modern day issues. She embarked on a new, narratively connected series of historical novels with THE OTHER EINSTEIN, which tells the tale of Albert Einstein’s first wife, a physicist herself, and the role she might have played in his theories. The next novel in this series is the USA Today bestselling CARNEGIE’S MAID — which released in January of 2018 — and the book that followed is the New York Times bestseller THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM, which published in January of 2019. In January of 2020, LADY CLEMENTINE will be released. Writing as Heather Terrell, Marie also published the historical novels The Chrysalis, The Map Thief, and Brigid of Kildare.” Goodreads Bio

The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

Deliciously MADDENING! The story of Hedy Kiesler, her astounding beauty and intellect, and what she achieves as Hedy Lamarr, is just stunning. As we celebrate “Women’s History Month,” this is the perfect book choice for a great discussion on relationships: father/daughter, mother/daughter, employer/female, husband/wife. The “maddening” part is the men who influence and lead her to wear so many masks that she hardly knows who she is under all the “shellac.”

The book opens in Vienna, Austria, 1933, whereHedy Kiesler is in her role at the theater as the nineteenth-century Bavarian empress Elizabeth. Raised in the wealthy family of a banker, Hedy’s Jewish background was not common knowledge, nor did she initially have any fears regarding her family’s heritage. It’s actually Hedy’s father’s concern for her welfare, and all Jewish people, in the wake of Hitler’s desire to annex Austria, that leads to Hedy’s marriage at the very young age of 19. She marries Fritz Mardl, a munitions manufacturer, and one of the richest men in Austria. Mr. Kiesler is sure this marriage will protect Hedy and the family.

The reader will cringe and wince many times as the manipulating ways of Fritz and his high-ranking Nazi political figures immediately impact her daily life as Mrs. Mandl. Hedy’s acting skills keep her alive in the many roles she ‘plays’ as she transforms herself over and over in order to survive. Her beauty and intellect help her defy the many men in her life who only see her outward features of gorgeous hair, fantastic figure, stunning face and style. Most of the men are quite easily beguiled so Hedy is successful when she needs her acting skills to emerge.

There are many “maddening” pieces to this novel. The same “maddening” issues women face in today’s world and workplace. Women become who others feel they need to be- many times a day! Hedy Lamarr says, “I’d midwifed myself through multiple rebirths, donning a fresh persona with every new iteration, only to return to my original veneer again and again.”

Readers will find much to discuss and ‘hash out’ as the roles of women in history are in the spotlight for the month of March. Hedy Lamarr’s determination and the pure persistence required to become a successful movie star and inventor earn her hero status. The Navy’s response for turning down her proposal will stun the reader, as it did Hedy, into “silent immobility.” After getting past the obstacles of anger and resentment for the men who changed history with such lame excuses, find a book store and buy a ticket to a “front row”, mesmerizing, unbelievable read: The Only Woman in the Room.

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