The Only Woman in the Room
She was beautiful. She was a genius. Could the world handle both? A powerful, illuminating novel about Hedy Lamarr. Hedy Kiesler is lucky. Her beauty leads to a starring role in a controversial film and marriage to a powerful Austrian arms dealer, allowing her to evade Nazi persecution despite her Jewish heritage. But Hedy is also intelligent. At lavish Vienna dinner parties, she overhears the Third Reich's plans. One night in 1937, desperate to escape her controlling husband and the rise of the Nazis, she disguises herself and flees her husband's castle.She lands in Hollywood, where she becomes Hedy Lamarr, screen star. But Hedy is keeping a secret even more shocking than her Jewish heritage: she is a scientist. She has an idea that might help the country and that might ease her guilt for escaping alone -- if anyone will listen to her. A powerful novel based on the incredible true story of the glamour icon and scientist whose groundbreaking invention revolutionized modern communication, The Only Woman in the Room is a masterpiece.

The Only Woman in the Room Details

TitleThe Only Woman in the Room
Author
ReleaseJan 8th, 2019
PublisherSourcebooks Landmark
ISBN-139781492666868
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction

The Only Woman in the Room Review

  • Kylie D
    January 1, 1970
    An inspiring book about a remarkable woman. This is a fictionalised account of screen siren Hedy Lamarr, known for her beauty, but not recognised until recently for her outstanding contribution to science. The first part of the book is set in pre-WW2 Austria, where as an aspiring actress she is forced into marriage with a notorious arms dealer. As the trophy wife she is privy to many dinner parties and clandestine meetings between powerful heads of state, and with her amazing intelligence she ta An inspiring book about a remarkable woman. This is a fictionalised account of screen siren Hedy Lamarr, known for her beauty, but not recognised until recently for her outstanding contribution to science. The first part of the book is set in pre-WW2 Austria, where as an aspiring actress she is forced into marriage with a notorious arms dealer. As the trophy wife she is privy to many dinner parties and clandestine meetings between powerful heads of state, and with her amazing intelligence she takes in a lot more than those that dismissed her as an airhead realise. Fast forward to the second part of the book, she has escaped Austria and her abusive marriage. She lands in Hollywood where she soon becomes a famous screen star, but behind the façade hides a guilt about the plight of her people in Austria during WW2, that she feels she didn't do enough to try to save before she fled. So using the knowledge of those pre-war meetings she starts to devise a weapon to try to bring an end to the war more swiftly.Honestly, before I read this book I didn't know much about Hedy Lamarr, except for being a Hollywood starlet. Marie Benedict tells a well researched tale about a woman that the world owes a lot to. Not a lot is known about her days in Austria, but Benedict's version could well be very close to the truth. I, for one, have a newfound respect for Lamarr, and will have to look out for some of her movies. A recommended read for those who love inspirational women.My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    4 brilliant stars to this story of Hedy Lamarr! I read and enjoyed Carnegie’s Maid, and I have been looking forward to reading Marie Benedict’s latest fictional portrayal of a strong woman. In this instance, she has written about Hedy (Kiesler) Lamarr. Born Jewish, Hedy Kiesler later finds herself an actress married to an Austrian arms dealer. Hedy is able to use her powerful position to avoid Nazi persecution. At the same time, her husband is controlling and difficult, and one evening in 1937, 4 brilliant stars to this story of Hedy Lamarr! I read and enjoyed Carnegie’s Maid, and I have been looking forward to reading Marie Benedict’s latest fictional portrayal of a strong woman. In this instance, she has written about Hedy (Kiesler) Lamarr. Born Jewish, Hedy Kiesler later finds herself an actress married to an Austrian arms dealer. Hedy is able to use her powerful position to avoid Nazi persecution. At the same time, her husband is controlling and difficult, and one evening in 1937, she disguises herself and flees. Where does she land? None other than Hollywood, and this is where she becomes the notorious Hedy Lamarr, famous movie star. Not only is Lamarr a stunning and well-loved actress hiding her Jewish heritage, she is also a brilliant scientist with an idea that may save her new country- that is, if anyone will take her seriously. I found The Only Woman in the Room to be engrossing and enchanting. Hedy Lamarr is a strong female figure we need to know about, not just for her film legacy, but for her scientific contributions as well. Kudos to Marie Benedict for highlighting an extraordinary woman with a powerfully-written story. Fans of World War II fiction will find much to love in this fascinating story. Thanks to the publisher for the complimentary ARC. All opinions are my own. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    Marie Benedict has introduced me once again to a fascinating historical figure. This excellent novel begins in the early days of newly appointed chancellor Adolf Hitler. It showcases the life and vast accomplishments of beautiful and intelligent Heidi Kiesler (aka Hedi Lamarr). An incredible and surprising life story that begins when as a young actress, she catches the eye of wealthy Friedrich Mandl, the renowned ‘Merchant of Death’ and Austria’s richest man. His charm during their whirlwind rom Marie Benedict has introduced me once again to a fascinating historical figure. This excellent novel begins in the early days of newly appointed chancellor Adolf Hitler. It showcases the life and vast accomplishments of beautiful and intelligent Heidi Kiesler (aka Hedi Lamarr). An incredible and surprising life story that begins when as a young actress, she catches the eye of wealthy Friedrich Mandl, the renowned ‘Merchant of Death’ and Austria’s richest man. His charm during their whirlwind romance (seven weeks) was short-lived. After marrying Hedi, he becomes controlling and abusive. She eventually escapes from his “rules, locks and fury” but does not fade into the sunset. She goes on to make significant contributions in the world of invention and scientific achievements. Sad that as she neared the end of her life, things went awry.A WOW of a book. In fact, I recommend reading all of Benedict’s books. A master at bringing fascinating historical characters to life. Thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • ♥ Sandi ❣
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for allowing me to read and review this ARC. Published Jan 8, 2019I put off reading this book because I could not bring myself to read another WWII Nazi book. I kept waiting to be 'in the mood' to read this one. Finally, three days after publication, I started the book. Even with my reluctance to read this book, I thought it started off at a pretty good pace. I knew that I liked the author and her style of writing, so I gave myself over to t 3.5 stars Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for allowing me to read and review this ARC. Published Jan 8, 2019I put off reading this book because I could not bring myself to read another WWII Nazi book. I kept waiting to be 'in the mood' to read this one. Finally, three days after publication, I started the book. Even with my reluctance to read this book, I thought it started off at a pretty good pace. I knew that I liked the author and her style of writing, so I gave myself over to the story. It did not take me long to get absorbed into the characters and flow of the story. After the first half dozen chapters I realized that I was enjoying it and settled right into the cadence. Having not reread the synopsis of the book since choosing it, which is my preference, I had forgotten the detail it gave. So blindly plunging into this story I was met with some nice surprises. Being introduced to Hedy Kiesler, a young woman married off to a much older man, Freidrich Mandl, an arms dealer, for the safety and surety of both herself and her Jewish parents, as Hitler knocked on the door of Austria. Having made the decision to be an actress, this marriage was a life altering event for Hedy, for she now became hostess to the most powerful man in Austria. Expected to be only that 'hostess', to the most important men in Europe, Hedy overheard some of the most detailed plans of WWII and Hitlers regime, while quickly getting bored of not only her lifestyle, but of her marriage. Taking her secrets with her, Hedy devised a plan to escape her marriage and her homeland for a free future in America. Not only was this story based on a prevalent 1950's elite actress, but the Afterword gave greater detail about her life and her contributions to our lives, over and above her acting ability. As I said, by not rereading the synopsis I was delighted by the surprises I came upon in this book, enjoyed the story, and ended up happy I read it.
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  • Jenna Bookish
    January 1, 1970
    My thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark, Booktrib, and The Girly Book Club for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the publisher. "Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid."-Hedy LamarrThe Only Woman in the Room is infinitely engaging, but woefully brief, coming in under 300 pages. Hedy Lamarr, a Jewish woman who married and Austrian arms dealer and eventually fled Europe during Hitler's My thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark, Booktrib, and The Girly Book Club for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the publisher. "Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid."-Hedy LamarrThe Only Woman in the Room is infinitely engaging, but woefully brief, coming in under 300 pages. Hedy Lamarr, a Jewish woman who married and Austrian arms dealer and eventually fled Europe during Hitler's rise to power, found fame and fortune as an actress in America. What she wanted more than anything, however, was for the world to see beyond her pretty face and for her intellectual efforts to be taken seriously.While this novel is historical fiction, the woman it portrays was quite real. As much as I enjoyed the reading experience, I can't help but feel that, in the interest of brevity, hugely formative periods of her life which involved rapid change were glossed over rather quickly. Hedy Lamarr has been the subject of nonfiction books, a documentary (Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, which is available on Netflix) and there was a memoir published under her name but written by ghost-writers (Ecstasy and Me: My Life As a Woman). Those who are already quite familiar with Lamarr may not find anything particularly enlightening in this novel. If you are like me, however, familiar with Lamarr only through a vague awareness of her as an actress and inventor, this may be a great place to start. The documentary is a great follow-up to this novel, as it delves into Lamarr's later life, which The Only Woman in the Room does not.The Hedy Lamarr portrayed in Benedict's novel is deeply introspective; her attempts to help with the war effort are fueled in part by a sense of survivor's guilt. Her first husband, a man she agreed to marry mainly because she thought he would protect her, became quite abusive and aligned himself with Nazi interests when it became clear Austria could not stand against Hitler. When Hedy flees Europe, she initially throws herself into Hollywood without reservation. Benedict does an excellent job of portraying the slowly rising sense of guilt and anxiety which compels Hedy to alter the world as we know it, albeit not in the way she ever envisioned.Hedy Lamarr's development of what she termed "Spread Spectrum Technology" is addressed briefly in terms of ramifications for today's technology in the author's note at the end of the novel. In short, her patent formed the backbone which allowed later inventors to develop all sorts of wireless technology, such as cell phones, fax machines, wifi, and more. Our daily lives are impacted today by her work, which was largely forgotten in favor of her silver screen accomplishments for most of her life. Benedict's novel attempts to draw the focus back onto Lamarr's intellectual excellence as opposed to the image of the ornamental damsel many may think of when they hear her name. The Only Woman in the Room is artfully written and imbued with a sense of respect for its subject.You can read all of my reviews at my blog, Jenna Bookish!Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr
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  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    The Only Woman in the Room was a well written glimpse into the life of Hedy Lamarr. From her marriage to an Austrian arms dealer before World War Two to her career as an American movie star, she fought to become more than just a pretty face. Marie Benedict’s research into her life shines through! A must for historical fiction fans!
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    Hedy Lamarr was both stunningly beautiful and stunningly smart. But could the world handle both?SUMMARYMay 17, 1933, the beautiful Hedwig Kiesler is on stage performing the role of her life in Vienna, when she captures the attention of the richest and most powerful man in Austria. Arms manufacturer, Friedrich Mandl lavishes dozens and dozens of roses on the young actress after every performance. Hedwig soon finds herself married to Friedrich, living in a castle and attending lavish dinner partie Hedy Lamarr was both stunningly beautiful and stunningly smart. But could the world handle both?SUMMARYMay 17, 1933, the beautiful Hedwig Kiesler is on stage performing the role of her life in Vienna, when she captures the attention of the richest and most powerful man in Austria. Arms manufacturer, Friedrich Mandl lavishes dozens and dozens of roses on the young actress after every performance. Hedwig soon finds herself married to Friedrich, living in a castle and attending lavish dinner parties where the discussions are on arms manufacturing, weaponry, politics, and German aggression. She understood these conversations more than anyone would guess. Desperate to escape her controlling husband and the rise of the Nazi party, Hedy disguises herself and flees from Austria to London in 1937. She lands in Hollywood, and becomes the beautiful screen star Hedy Lamarr. But her guilt for surviving, when so many in her birth country perished, ultimately move her to action. Because of her unique intelligence, insight and knowledge of weaponry, Hedy is able to invent an improved guidance system to enhance the accuracy of Navy torpedos. But will anyone listen to a woman about such things? REVIEWThis fabulously written book explores Hedy’s early life, her disturbing marriage, her glamorous Hollywood stardom and her brilliant inventions to help the Allies defeat the Nazi’s. But THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM is about so much more. My favorite part of this book is in fact, it’s concept. Author MARIE BENEDICT is passionate about shining a light on the hidden roles of women in our history and rewriting them back into the narrative. She has done an exceptional job at that here, as well as in her previous two novels: The Other Einstein (2016) and Carnegie’s Maid (2018).I was drawn like a moth to a flame to this necessary and insightful book. The book reveals Hedy to be an amazingly strong and brilliant woman. She was a woman who knew how and when to stand up for herself. If this book isn’t on your reading list, it should be. She exudes perseverance and fortitude, and is a role model for us all. I listened to the Audible version of this book and Suzanne Toren’s narration brought Hedy’s voice to life.Excerpt from Authors Note: “Whether Hedy’s work on spread spectrum technology was purposefully disregarded or unconsciously forgotten, it appears that embedded in her oversight were misconceptions about her abilities; about all women really. Faulty assumptions about women’s capabilities....has caused many to think more narrowly about the manner in which the past has been shaped. But unless we begin to view historical women through a broader, more inclusive lens, and rewrite them back into the narrative, we will continue to view the past more restrictively than it likely was. And we risk carrying those perspectives over into the present.” Publisher Audible StudiosPublished January 8, 2019Narrated Suzanne TorenReview www.bluestockingreviews.com
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  • Marjorie
    January 1, 1970
    Hedwig Kiesler is a young wealthy Jewish girl living in Vienna. She longs to be a famous actress but also is interested in science. Her father encourages her to pursue both. She is just gaining respect as an actress when she meets her biggest fan, Fritz Mandl. Mandl has quite a reputation with women and as an Austrian arms dealer. But Hedwig’s parents are concerned about the developing hatred for Jews and believes a marriage between Hedwig and Fritz will save them all. Once Hedwig marries Fritz, Hedwig Kiesler is a young wealthy Jewish girl living in Vienna. She longs to be a famous actress but also is interested in science. Her father encourages her to pursue both. She is just gaining respect as an actress when she meets her biggest fan, Fritz Mandl. Mandl has quite a reputation with women and as an Austrian arms dealer. But Hedwig’s parents are concerned about the developing hatred for Jews and believes a marriage between Hedwig and Fritz will save them all. Once Hedwig marries Fritz, she realizes she made a terrible mistake and is imprisoned and abused by her controlling husband. She begins to listen in on conversations at their dinner parties and learns military secrets that she passes on to her husband, hoping to use those secrets to escape from him. Those secrets lead her to become an inventor of a unique radio-communication devise that may help win the war.I was completely riveted by this book and found it fascinating. I well remember the actress Hedy Lamarr, having watched many of her old movies on TV when I was young. I also knew that this beautiful actress was also the inventor of a radio guidance system that was eventually used in the development of Bluetooth and Wi-fi. But this book opened up her world to me in such a mesmerizing way. The author has a talent for bringing her characters to life. Parts of this book read like a suspenseful thriller and I couldn’t put it down. Most impressive was the focus the author gave to the difficulties Hedy encountered when she presented her invention to the navy and it was refused simply because they said it would be hard for them to sell their soldiers and sailors on a weapons system created by a woman and that they weren’t even going to try. And this was decided when they had a faulty torpedo system in place. She was told that she would do better selling war bonds. I was so glad to read in a postscript that many years later, in the 1990’s, she was finally given recognition and awards for her invention.Most highly recommended.This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    3.5There is nothing new under the sun. It was true in the Third Century B.C. when the writer of Ecclesiastes wrote it and it is true in 2018.And one of the perennial truths is that women are valued for their beauty and preyed upon for sex and must fight for equality in their vocations and avocations.Take Hedy Lamarr, the gorgeous Austrian born star. Marie Benedict's new historical fiction novel The Only Woman in the Room peels back the Hollywood-packaged icon of female physical perfection and of 3.5There is nothing new under the sun. It was true in the Third Century B.C. when the writer of Ecclesiastes wrote it and it is true in 2018.And one of the perennial truths is that women are valued for their beauty and preyed upon for sex and must fight for equality in their vocations and avocations.Take Hedy Lamarr, the gorgeous Austrian born star. Marie Benedict's new historical fiction novel The Only Woman in the Room peels back the Hollywood-packaged icon of female physical perfection and offers us a woman who would be in the #MeToo marches and fighting to be taken seriously as an inventor.I had seen the fascinating American Masters show Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story and was interested to see how Benedict handled Lamarr's exceptional story. Although I have some issues with the writing, I believe that the importance of bringing Lamarr's story to the general public in an accessible venue is more important. The book is a page-turner, quick and easy to read. It hits all the hot-button issues in contemporary society: Antisemitism, abuse and control of women, the power used by Hollywood moguls over starlets, immigration and refugees. Throw in marriage and divorce, adoption, and single moms. And no, the book is not fiction written to address these issues! Hedy Lamarr's life touched on them all.If all you know about Hedy Lamarr is her films or "It's Hedley!" from Mel Brooks movie Blazing Saddles, you need to read this book.Benedict's previous books include The Other Einstein and Carnegie's Maid. Learn more about them here.I received an ARC from bookreporter.com in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
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  • Billie
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted so much more from this book. Hedy Lamarr was a brilliant, fascinating woman and while Benedict hit the highlights of her life, that's all she did—hit the highlights. This is a biographical novel that fell short on the "novel" side. Perhaps Benedict was wary of embellishing/fictionalizing too much of the life of someone about whom so much is known, but it resulted in a novel that was a bit flat. Another fifty to one hundred pages to add texture and detail to the incidents depicted or to I wanted so much more from this book. Hedy Lamarr was a brilliant, fascinating woman and while Benedict hit the highlights of her life, that's all she did—hit the highlights. This is a biographical novel that fell short on the "novel" side. Perhaps Benedict was wary of embellishing/fictionalizing too much of the life of someone about whom so much is known, but it resulted in a novel that was a bit flat. Another fifty to one hundred pages to add texture and detail to the incidents depicted or to include Hedy's childhood or something to add depth and richness to a story that never quite sparked and sparkled in a manner worthy of its subject.
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  • Karen Kay
    January 1, 1970
    I received this from netgalley.com in exchange for a review. A good fictional representation of Hedy Lamarr.3☆
  • Terena Bell
    January 1, 1970
    This book isn't bad, but it also isn't good. I'm also baffled as to why this is being published in January (according to the back of my Book Expo ARC), because it's an obvious beach read -- and is written as such. The author presents a cursory overview of actress Hedy Lamarr's amazing life and, in such, makes it utterly un-amazing. THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM moves through events too quickly. For example, Lamarr's custody battle for her son takes one sentence. As a result, the character never dev This book isn't bad, but it also isn't good. I'm also baffled as to why this is being published in January (according to the back of my Book Expo ARC), because it's an obvious beach read -- and is written as such. The author presents a cursory overview of actress Hedy Lamarr's amazing life and, in such, makes it utterly un-amazing. THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM moves through events too quickly. For example, Lamarr's custody battle for her son takes one sentence. As a result, the character never develops. We're talking about the woman who in real life invented wifi and a WWII naval torpedo system. But Benedict's Lamarr isn't smart enough to do those things. When she becomes an inventor, there's nothing written in the character that allows this development to make sense. Had the book taken its time in moving through the events of her life, we could have learned more about her. We could have actually cared. Instead, we're left with scenes that should have been moving that aren't: Benedict even makes the moment when Lamarr learns about Pearl Harbor boring -- and Pearl Harbor is one of the most moving events of all time.THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM is just a beach read. And if that's what you're into, hey. But the real Lemarr fought her entire life to be taken seriously, and here, she is not.
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  • Kristina McMorris
    January 1, 1970
    An equally fascinating figure and read! Here's my quote from an early peek: “In her latest novel, Marie Benedict deftly portrays the fascinating life of Hedy Lamarr, a Hollywood icon whose scientific accomplishments have long been eclipsed by her sensuous beauty. Moving from one volatile stage to the next, THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM follows a remarkable path of survival through the dangers of world war and those at home, behind closed doors. A read as intriguing and captivating as Ms. Lamarr her An equally fascinating figure and read! Here's my quote from an early peek: “In her latest novel, Marie Benedict deftly portrays the fascinating life of Hedy Lamarr, a Hollywood icon whose scientific accomplishments have long been eclipsed by her sensuous beauty. Moving from one volatile stage to the next, THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM follows a remarkable path of survival through the dangers of world war and those at home, behind closed doors. A read as intriguing and captivating as Ms. Lamarr herself.”
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  • Suzze Tiernan
    January 1, 1970
    This is just what I love in a historical novel, a real insight into a person. Hedy may have been a beautiful actress, but she was also an intelligent and inventive woman, often held back because of the perception of women in her lifetime. I’m glad to have learned more about her.
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  • Rae
    January 1, 1970
    The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict features the fantastical life of Hedy Lamarr. A stunning Hollywood starlet, Hedy was so much more than just a pretty face. During a time when women were thought of as property and decoration, Hedy Lamarr rose above societal standards with an invention that transformed modern communication.I really enjoyed reading The Only Woman in the Room! I had never heard of Hedy Lamarr prior to reading this book (I must live under a rock?), but I’m so glad I got t The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict features the fantastical life of Hedy Lamarr. A stunning Hollywood starlet, Hedy was so much more than just a pretty face. During a time when women were thought of as property and decoration, Hedy Lamarr rose above societal standards with an invention that transformed modern communication.I really enjoyed reading The Only Woman in the Room! I had never heard of Hedy Lamarr prior to reading this book (I must live under a rock?), but I’m so glad I got to hear her story. She was an inspirational woman who was not content with being a trophy wife or a glamorous actress. She had beauty and brains and wanted to put her passion for science to good use.The Only Woman in the Room was well-written and fast-paced. The story was immediately engaging. Hedy Lamarr sucks you in from the opening chapter, and I couldn’t wait to find out where she’d go next.Hedy’s story is amazing and somewhat unfathomable at times. In her birthplace of Austria, Hedy married a munitions factory owner who was high up in the political totem pole. Her husband, Fritz, rubbed shoulders with the likes of Hitler and Mussolini and was in the business of making money, not sound ethical decisions. Hiding a secret Jewish Heritage, Hedy escaped and made her way to Hollywood. Her early life was formidable and helped shape her passion for radio communication. She wanted to help win the war, and she did this through science and her power as a celebrity.I loved Hedy’s no-nonsense demeaner. She understood her value and forced others to see her worth. When she was told “no,” she persisted until she received a “yes.” She was charming, independent, and relentlessly determined. She was—truly—a very neat woman.My only gripe with The Only Woman in the Room was the ending. It felt too abrupt. I was expecting the book to go on for several pages, but it ended suddenly, leaving me hanging. I was left wanting to know more. An additional chapter summarizing the rest of Hedy’s life would have been welcomed. Regardless, I still enjoyed the book immensely despite the ending. If you enjoy historical fiction—especially books inspired by real people—check out The Only Woman in the Room. You won’t be disappointed!
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  • Annette
    January 1, 1970
    Hedy Lamarr (born Hedwig Kiesler) (1914-2000) was an Austrian-born American film actress and inventor. Her invention along with George Antheil wasn’t incorporated by the US Navy until the 1960s; the principles of their work are incorporated into Bluetooth technology. They were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.1933, Vienna, AustriaHedy Kiesler is a successful actress, performing in Sissy, beloved Bavarian Empress Elizabeth, at the famed Theater an der Wien.Friedrich Mandl Hedy Lamarr (born Hedwig Kiesler) (1914-2000) was an Austrian-born American film actress and inventor. Her invention along with George Antheil wasn’t incorporated by the US Navy until the 1960s; the principles of their work are incorporated into Bluetooth technology. They were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.1933, Vienna, AustriaHedy Kiesler is a successful actress, performing in Sissy, beloved Bavarian Empress Elizabeth, at the famed Theater an der Wien.Friedrich Mandl takes a note of her and pursues her. His company manufactures munitions, and it’s not just what he manufactures, but to whom he sells it. One of his clients is Benito Mussolini.At 19, to Hedy’s surprise she finds him very attractive. His father agrees to the marriage, seeking security for his daughter against brewing anti-Semitism. And he hopes that this union can bring a protection for his family. They’re not religious, but they’re still Jewish. As soon as the honeymoon follows, she already recognizes that the protection they were seeking through this marriage may not be the case. Therefore, she eavesdrops on conversations of her husband and his colleagues. “I often overheard discussions of military plans and suitable weapons, including talk of the strengths and weaknesses of Germany’s system.”1937, she flees her husband and makes her way to London and gets a chance at second history. The head of MGM Studios offers her a contract. She sails for Hollywood, and on the ship is given her new stage name Hedy Lamarr.As she moves to the States, she buries the secret of conversations she overheard. But as the war is progressing in Europe and the US remains unaffected, the buried secret gnaws at her.When Hedy makes her name known in Hollywood, Germany annexes Austria. Now, she needs to get her Jewish mother out of Vienna, where she chose to remain.“My European friends and I (…) learned that little of the truth was reported in the newspapers. Certainly, details about the Nazi invasion of Poland were described in detail, as well as the ultimatums issued to Germany by the United Kingdom and France. But as I liked to remind our group, when Hitler invaded Austria, the Nuremberg Laws were put into effect, and few newspapers reported on this.”“Could I have helped the European Jews if I’d made known that the Nuremberg Laws were not the limit of Hitler’s plans?”Then she meets George Antheil, a famous composer. When she learns about his wife being also European and his brother being killed when stationed in Finland for a short time, she feels a connection with him. And when they play effortlessly on a piano, changing tunes and synchronizing seamlessly, an idea comes to her mind. She asks him to work on a project with her.There are “flaws with wired torpedoes and her desire is to craft a radio-guided torpedo system for Allies that would be precise in its aim and that would use unjammable frequencies.”The author skillfully paints a portrait of a beautiful woman with “a sharp mind capable of significant contributions. (…) a woman capable of greatness, and not only on the screen.” Whose secret burns inside her, making her feel guilty for all the lost lives. And the sexism she encounters at the US Navy. “(…) it reflects the pervasive marginalization of women’s contributions, a problem that is both historical and modern.”The story focuses on the parts of Hedy’s life that are relevant to the premise of the story (stated above). The chapters are short and the story is engrossing, making it a quick read.If you’re not familiar with this author, I also highly recommend her other two novels: The Other Einstein and Carnegie’s Maid. I greatly appreciate authors, who search for lesser known subjects. I am already eagerly awaiting this author’s next [email protected]/BestHistoricalFiction
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  • Holly
    January 1, 1970
    The Only Woman in the Room is Marie Benedict’s third novel featuring a powerful woman overlooked by history — in this case, a female actress popular in the 1930s and 1940s named Hedwig Kiesler, who you might know by her stage name Hedy Lamarr. All I knew about her was that she was an actress but I had never seen any of her movies. There is so much more to learn about this extraordinary woman that I am sure The Only Woman in the Room will be a fascinating and engrossing read for many. Furthermore The Only Woman in the Room is Marie Benedict’s third novel featuring a powerful woman overlooked by history — in this case, a female actress popular in the 1930s and 1940s named Hedwig Kiesler, who you might know by her stage name Hedy Lamarr. All I knew about her was that she was an actress but I had never seen any of her movies. There is so much more to learn about this extraordinary woman that I am sure The Only Woman in the Room will be a fascinating and engrossing read for many. Furthermore, the story is very topical and relevant for current times because it deals head-on with misogyny. Hedy Lamarr was a beautiful and accomplished actress who also happened to be extremely smart, strong, clever, and determined. I felt like I got to know her through these pages and found her very likable while rooting for her all along her journey. Ms. Benedict does an outstanding job bringing Hedy Lamarr to life via words on the page. It is well-written and it is clear that a vast amount of research went into this story, making it a compelling read. At its core, this is a story of self-discovery and self-acceptance with a lot of historical significance along the way.Ms. Lamarr was Austrian and Jewish though she was not religious (not that the Nazis ever cared about such a distinction). In order to keep herself and her family safe, she married Fritz Mandl, the richest man in Austria who sold weapons to anyone and everyone, earning him the nickname the “Merchant of Death.” He forced her to make many sacrifices, including her acting career and her heritage. After they were married, Heddy learned quickly that he was an extremely controlling man. He dictated her clothing choices and told her which shade of lipstick to wear. But these were small things — ultimately, he became much worse. She was confined behind seven locks on the door and was unable to go anywhere without his permission. The numerous servants made sure she obeyed his wishes.There were only rules and locks and fury. By imprisoning me, it seemed, he hoped to cage the rampant virus that was Hitler. I became the unspoken emblem of the evil within and without whenever he needed a place to vent his anger.During her time married to this monster, she listened and learned everything she could about his business as well as his dealings with Mussolini and Hitler. She had a scientific bent and her curiosity prompted her to invent things, which came in handy later as she invented signal frequency hopping technology, earning her a patent, which would have vastly improved the accuracy of torpedoes during WWII. However, her invention was discounted simply because she was a WOMAN! The war would’ve ended sooner and lives would have been saved if gender didn’t get in the way of evaluating this new technolology. They told her she would be more effective if instead of trying to invent things, she sold War Bonds. While she was confident she was much more than a pretty face, she conceded and in the course of one night, she sold $2,250,000 in war bonds! Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Betty
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed Marie benedict’s two previous books CARNEGIE’S MAID and THE OTHER EINSTEIN so was looking forward to her take on Hedy Lamarr. I was NOT disappointed as she delivered the compelling story of Hedy Lamarr. Benedict brought to life the little known history of one of the world’s most beautiful women and, more importantly, highly intelligent women. Hedwig Kiestler was born in Austria to a Jewish mother and father. While performing the role of Empress Sisi, she came to the attention of I really enjoyed Marie benedict’s two previous books CARNEGIE’S MAID and THE OTHER EINSTEIN so was looking forward to her take on Hedy Lamarr. I was NOT disappointed as she delivered the compelling story of Hedy Lamarr. Benedict brought to life the little known history of one of the world’s most beautiful women and, more importantly, highly intelligent women. Hedwig Kiestler was born in Austria to a Jewish mother and father. While performing the role of Empress Sisi, she came to the attention of the munitions magnate Fritz Mandl. After a short courtship, his proposal of marriage was seen as a way to protect Hedy from the growing anti-Semitism of the time.Mandl spoke openly to Hedy about the armaments and munitions he sold. Always the curious one, Hedy read as much as she could about the arms her husband sold and listened in on conversations he held with business partners. The men never imagined that this beautiful woman had any interest in or understood their conversations. Mandl became more and more controlling and Hedy knew she had to escape his powerful clutches. She flees to England and then to Hollywood where Jewish actors and actresses were fleeing to as they could not perform in Europe. She quickly becomes one of the highest paid performers and is dubbed the most beautiful woman in the world. But over her hangs a cloud of guilt.Knowing what she did, could she have prevented some of the senseless deaths of European Jews? She now draws on her scientific knowledge to develop equipment to shorten the war thus saving lives. But her real challenge is getting someone to listen to her. This is a commanding novel based on the true story of actress Hedy Lamarr whose patented idea laid the foundation for secure communications and cellphone technology. The story was so riveting I flew through the pages losing all track of time. This is a story not to be forgotten.
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  • Melissa Flanagin
    January 1, 1970
    Finally!!!!! Barnes and Nobles picked a book for their book club. This book was so good. Hedy Lamarr is such an interesting lady. Her life was quite impressive. She did a lot for many people and went through so much. She was very strong and independent. Marie Benedict knows how to take history and put in into a fictional story and keep facts and also make it interesting and not dry.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    An ARC was provided to me for free by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.You can read my full review at my blog!Hedy Kiesler is beautiful and talented and popular. Her roles in films and on-stage garners the attention of Fritz Mandl, a powerful arms dealer. Their marriage allows her to avoid the persecution of Jewish people in 1930s Austria, and she also uses her position to learn more about Hitler’s plans.One night, she flees both her domineering husband and Austria on An ARC was provided to me for free by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.You can read my full review at my blog!Hedy Kiesler is beautiful and talented and popular. Her roles in films and on-stage garners the attention of Fritz Mandl, a powerful arms dealer. Their marriage allows her to avoid the persecution of Jewish people in 1930s Austria, and she also uses her position to learn more about Hitler’s plans.One night, she flees both her domineering husband and Austria on the brink of war, becoming Hedy Lamarr in Hollywood. But Hedy is not only an actress: she’s also an inventor. And, feeling guilty that she managed to escape Europe, she develops an idea to stop the war.Before she was Hedy Lamarr, the “exotic” European actress in Hollywood, she was Hedy Kiesler, a Jewish girl from Vienna. Hedy was only 19 years old in 1933, when Hitler was elected in Germany and rumours were swirling about an invasion into Austria.A good chunk of The Only Woman in the Room follows Hedy’s marriage with Fritz Mandl, who was an ardent admirer of Hedy’s acting and beauty. They had a rather abusive marriage, with Fritz imposing strict rules on Hedy and punishing her if she didn’t fulfill his ridiculous expectations. Hedy lived in fear of Fritz, who was also extremely powerful in Austria: he owned several munitions factories and was (supposedly) trying to work against Hitler. As the Nuremberg Laws were passed to strip the rights of Jewish people, Hedy began fearing for the lives of her own people.I really enjoyed this part of the book. While I could not initially sympathize with Hedy, who came off as rather spoiled and self-centred, I was very interested in her marriage with Fritz—and all the ways she tried negotiating her identity as a woman and as person of Jewish heritage. I thought she was a very self-possessed and strong female icon for the era, who was aware of her own body and its effects on men but who also did not wish to be used or remembered solely for it.When Hedy ultimately fled to America, developing connections to recreate herself and become Hedy Lamarr, I felt the book wasn’t as compelling. While Hedy continued to negotiate her identity as a woman who did not want to be silenced, she became extremely disconnected from the war because she was literally on the other side of the world. The war had been a major potential conflict for the majority of the book, a looming inevitable force that would tear apart the world. But Hedy escaped safely from both the war and Fritz, who had served as the “antagonist” until that point. And this was obviously not the author’s fault since this was simply following reality, but it sort of left the book without a purpose once Hedy got to America.The part of the book that suffered the most was the final portion, which focuses on Hedy’s attempt to invent something to help the Americans beat the Germans. Yes folks, Hedy Lamarr was a legit inventor. Which is amazing! But it would have also been cooler if Hedy didn’t seem to come to the idea so quickly. I don’t care if she woke up one day with an epiphany to stop the war, it just felt so unrealistic because she arrived at the perfect plan almost instantaneously and seemed to have very little difficulty in making it work—despite her lack of education in such an area. I’m not refuting the fact that Hedy created such a thing, I just wish it had a better representation and explanation in the novel.Probably the most realistic and well-written part of this section was her frustration at men not taking her invention seriously simply because she was a woman. That’s a common theme in the novel, of Hedy needing to deal with misogynistic idiots, and I really appreciated the inclusion of her struggle.Overall, the book was very mixed for me. It definitely had its highs—Hedy’s marriage with Fritz, her attempts to be taken seriously as a woman and to have autonomy—but its lows were kinda low. The book tried too hard to do a lot in little time. While the book’s part in Austria was incredibly strong and compelling, the American portion definitely suffered. Not to mention, the book ends very abruptly. I was 95% in, wondering how it would wrap up, and suddenly—it was over. I actually had to go back and stare at the last paragraph because I was so in shock over it ending so suddenly.If you are at all interested in Hedy Lamarr's life—or even just interested in a historical woman who is usually known for her beauty but was also so much more—this is a good book for you.Blog | Twitter | Instagram
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  • Cindy Burnett
    January 1, 1970
    The Only Woman in the Room chronicles the long and accomplished life of Hedy Lamarr (born Hedwig Keisler), the Hollywood screen star from the 1940s and 1950s. Born in Austria to a Jewish family, Hedy attracts the attention of a high-ranking Austrian arms dealer and marries him to try to protect her family from Nazi persecution. After Austria is enveloped into Germany, her husband begins to work with high-ranking Nazis, and after a failed first attempt she manages to escape Austria and her contro The Only Woman in the Room chronicles the long and accomplished life of Hedy Lamarr (born Hedwig Keisler), the Hollywood screen star from the 1940s and 1950s. Born in Austria to a Jewish family, Hedy attracts the attention of a high-ranking Austrian arms dealer and marries him to try to protect her family from Nazi persecution. After Austria is enveloped into Germany, her husband begins to work with high-ranking Nazis, and after a failed first attempt she manages to escape Austria and her controlling husband. She eventually arrives in Hollywood where she launches the acting career for which she is well known. Unable to forget the horrors she witnessed in Austria, she recruits a partner (George Antheil), and they quietly begin work on an invention that she hopes will help the United States win the war against Germany. While the U.S. Navy did not adopt their invention until the 1960’s, their invention eventually led to the creation of Bluetooth and ultimately WiFi and the cell phone. She and Antheil were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014 for this invention.Marie Benedict breathes heart and depth into Lamarr’s long and storied life. Benedict’s decision to tell the story from Hedy’s perspective was genius, and the book’s pacing is perfect. While Hedy’s life in Austria was interesting and at times horrifying, I found the parts relating to her acting career and then her inventions the most fascinating. While I was very familiar with Hedy’s screen work before I read The Only Woman in the Room, I had no idea that she was also a scientist with such an important legacy. Benedict describes the process they used and their efforts to obtain a patent in just enough detail to keep it interesting but not so much that readers will want to tune that section out. To me, that is the sign of a fabulous writer.I highly recommend The Only Woman in the Room and am thrilled Benedict chose to make sure Lamarr’s legacy is not forgotten.
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  • Trina
    January 1, 1970
    The Only Woman in the Room is a remarkable, well-researched (yet fictionalized) account of Hedy Lamarr's life by author Marie Benedict.Although a stunningly, beautiful actress, Hedy wanted to be seen for something other than her beauty – fortunate for us – she possessed the intellectual goods to back it up. After giving up her budding acting career to marry Friedrich Mandl (an influential arms dealer) at 19 and then experiencing a tumultuous marriage, Hedy escapes her husband’s rule to immigrate The Only Woman in the Room is a remarkable, well-researched (yet fictionalized) account of Hedy Lamarr's life by author Marie Benedict.Although a stunningly, beautiful actress, Hedy wanted to be seen for something other than her beauty – fortunate for us – she possessed the intellectual goods to back it up. After giving up her budding acting career to marry Friedrich Mandl (an influential arms dealer) at 19 and then experiencing a tumultuous marriage, Hedy escapes her husband’s rule to immigrate to America. Upon her arrival to America, Hedy worked diligently to re-make a name for herself as an actress, but she couldn’t help but to feel guilty about those left behind in Austria. After hearing about the many injustices and atrocities in Austria at Hitler’s hand, Hedy decided to use some of the information that she’d gained while married to Friedrich Mandl to invent military arms for America to use against Germany. Her genius was not fully recognized by the armed forces however, her invention was patented and contributes greatly to today’s technology. As a huge fan of historical fiction, I absolutely loved this book. The author did a great job with the pace of the story as well as the plot development. It was one I didn’t want to put down and read in 24 hours. I highly recommend this book.I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.Synopsis from the Publisher/NetGalley.comShe 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. She devised a plan to flee in disguise from their castle, and the whirlwind escape landed her in Hollywood. She became Hedy Lamarr, screen star.But she kept a secret more shocking than her heritage or her marriage: she was a scientist. And she knew a few secrets about the enemy. She had an idea that might help the country fight the Nazis...if anyone would listen to her.A powerful novel based on the incredible true story of the glamour icon and scientist whose groundbreaking invention revolutionized modern communication, The Only Woman in the Room is a masterpiece.
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  • Blodeuedd Finland
    January 1, 1970
    The book is in two parts. Before Hollywood and Hollywood. I did like the before bits a lot more, Hollywood was good too, but the more I think about it, the more i think I know why. See this is a fictionalized story of Hedy Lamarr. The bones are there and the things we know, but not everything was known about her Austria days and I felt that the author embraced that more then and let her pen fly. And then when we came to Hollywood there was so much she wanted to talk about that we know happened. The book is in two parts. Before Hollywood and Hollywood. I did like the before bits a lot more, Hollywood was good too, but the more I think about it, the more i think I know why. See this is a fictionalized story of Hedy Lamarr. The bones are there and the things we know, but not everything was known about her Austria days and I felt that the author embraced that more then and let her pen fly. And then when we came to Hollywood there was so much she wanted to talk about that we know happened. Like what a meat market Hollywood was which she surely wanted to talk about cos of MeToo. And how Hedy worries about war, and then war comes so she worries about Jews. And on top of that she is making so many movies and they are all mentioned. Plus her inventions. See, there was just so much going on there. Still good, but I really liked the drama of the first part.Part one. Hedwig Kleiser, Jewish, even if she does not think of her that way, she is Austrian after all. Actress and now celebrated in the stage production of Sisi. She is 19 an a whirlwind. I liked her from page 1. Then then drama starts, a rich older man wants her and she obeys. This is Austria in the 30s after all. Her father knows trouble is coming and the third richest man in Austria might just protect her and them then. He is a controlling man who just wants pretty armcandy to show his friends.And this part was exciting. A husband she grew to fear more and more. Tensions rising in Austria. Her husband being part of the Austrian political elite. It was this whole other life I did not know she had had.Then comes Hollywood. I did feel she suffered a bit too much from survivors guilt. She went on and on how she could have saved the Jews of Austria. I think not. And the thrilling part how freaking smart she was. I wish the author had showed more of that in her earlier years. It was like she suddenly was a genius. I mean she invented something that now was a forerunner to bluetooth, wifi, gps (and the military swept that under the rug, aholes.)That is why I really enjoyed this book. What a fascinating woman! Everyone should read it and see for themselves.NarratorI liked her narration because it felt like it was an older Hedy talking. It brought you really close into the story.
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  • Linda Zagon
    January 1, 1970
    Lindas Book Obsession Reviews “The Only Woman in the Room” by Marie Benedict Sourcebooks Landmark, January 8, 2019Lindas Book Obsession Reviews “The Only Woman in the Room” by Marie Benedict, Sourcebooks Landmark, January 8, 2019Marie Benedict, Author of “The Only Woman in the Room” has written an intriguing, captivating, dramatic, entertaining, suspenseful and intense novel. The Genres for this novel are Historical Fiction and Fiction. The timeline for the story is around World War Two. The sto Lindas Book Obsession Reviews “The Only Woman in the Room” by Marie Benedict Sourcebooks Landmark, January 8, 2019Lindas Book Obsession Reviews “The Only Woman in the Room” by Marie Benedict, Sourcebooks Landmark, January 8, 2019Marie Benedict, Author of “The Only Woman in the Room” has written an intriguing, captivating, dramatic, entertaining, suspenseful and intense novel. The Genres for this novel are Historical Fiction and Fiction. The timeline for the story is around World War Two. The story goes into the past when it pertains to the characters or events in the story. The story takes place in Austria, and in Hollywood California. The Author describes her colorful cast of characters as complex and complicated.Hedy Kiesler is a Jewish actress in Austria. Hedy is described as gorgeous and talented. The time is just before World War Two, and the political feel in Austria is tense. For her safety, her parents are convinced to let her marry a wealthy and political munitions dealer. Her husband is supposed to be a guarantee to protect her from Nazi Germany. He is friends with Benito Mussolini. Hedy and her husband get married in church. Hedy realizes that he is abusive, and as the political climate changes, she tries to escape. There are many things that Hedy hears in the house. Eventually Hedy arranges to escape, and gets to Hollywood. She becomes Hedy Lamarr. Hedy Lamarr is one of the most famous and beautiful actresses, but liked to experiment with scientific projects. Some of her ideas were brought to the attention of the United States Navy. They were initially dismissed because Hedy was a woman. It is only years later, that we realize how intelligent and powerful she was.I loved the way Marie Benedict vividly described the landscape and scenery in Austria, and the Hollywood scene. I would highly recommend this amazing novel for readers who enjoy Historical Fiction. I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest review.
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  • Joan Happel
    January 1, 1970
    The Only Woman in the Room by Marie BenedictThis fascinating biographical fiction novel tells the story of Hedwig “Hedy” Keisler, better known to the world as the actress Hedy Lamarr. The story begins with Hedy’s life in Austria, working as an actress just prior to WWII. Born to Jewish parents, Hedy comes to the attention of military munitions manufacturer Friedrich Mandl. After a brief courtship, Hedy agrees to marry Mandl in the hopes that he will protect her and her parents from the lengtheni The Only Woman in the Room by Marie BenedictThis fascinating biographical fiction novel tells the story of Hedwig “Hedy” Keisler, better known to the world as the actress Hedy Lamarr. The story begins with Hedy’s life in Austria, working as an actress just prior to WWII. Born to Jewish parents, Hedy comes to the attention of military munitions manufacturer Friedrich Mandl. After a brief courtship, Hedy agrees to marry Mandl in the hopes that he will protect her and her parents from the lengthening shadow of Hitler’s Nazi regimen. However, she soon discovers that her new husband is a controlling, jealous and often abusive man. He tries to control every aspect of her life, even locking her up in their home, to keep her from leaving him. Hedy is privy to her husband’s meetings with high-level political and military operatives and she uses that time to absorb and learn all she can about their progress and plans. She finally escapes her husband and makes her way to Hollywood to begin a career in film. In Hollywood, Hedy realizes that she needs to be more than just another beautiful starlet. Suffering from survivor’s guilt at the outbreak of World War, Hedy uses all she learned from her former husband’s contacts, and becomes an inventor of a radio-guided torpedo system that will aid the Allies in their war against the Axis.The Only Woman in the Room reads like a story ripped from today’s headlines. It deals with Antisemitism, the rise of Nationalism, abuse and control of women, immigration and refuges and even the long practice of Hollywood moguls abuse of power. This is an engrossing story of a women who refused to be defined by her beauty alone. This is a captivating story of a complicated women who was so much more than the starlet up on the screen. A great read for historical fiction fans as well as those who enjoy stories of WWII and old Hollywood.Thanks to Netgalley.com for the advanced reader copy.
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  • Tara Vaglio
    January 1, 1970
    The Only Woman in the Room tells the story of the Austrian American actress Hedy Lamarr. Starting with her life in Vienna as a 19 year old girl, and ending with her contributions towards the war in America, Hedy’s story is nothing short of spectacular. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Hedy and her life experiences. Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to the BookReporter Network as well as Sourcebooks which provided me with an Advance Readers Copy in exchange for my honest opinion. I really enjoyed this novelization of the life of Hedy Lamarr. I knew nothing about her, other than the fact that she was a beautiful movie star who worked here in the US during the 1940s and 1950s. I have never seen her in a movie, nor have I heard her speak, so I had no preconceived notions going into this story. Marie Benedict writes about her life in int Thanks to the BookReporter Network as well as Sourcebooks which provided me with an Advance Readers Copy in exchange for my honest opinion. I really enjoyed this novelization of the life of Hedy Lamarr. I knew nothing about her, other than the fact that she was a beautiful movie star who worked here in the US during the 1940s and 1950s. I have never seen her in a movie, nor have I heard her speak, so I had no preconceived notions going into this story. Marie Benedict writes about her life in interwar Austria and begins in 1933 when 19 year old Hedy meets and then marries Fritz Mandl, an Austrian arms manufacturer who plays a large part in the European theatre of World War II. From there, it takes the reader through the next 10 years of her life and the impact that World War II had on her. While this is another World War II novel, I found the material new and interesting, especially as Hedy is a real, famous person who led a very interesting life.
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  • Guylou
    January 1, 1970
    This is another outstanding novel based on a real character by Marie Benedict. The Only Woman in the Room is the story of Hedy Kiesler, an Austrian rising star. After a controversial movie debut, she finds find great success in the role of Empress Elizabeth at the theatre. She is quickly noticed by Austrian weapon dealer, Fritz Mandl who pursues her interminably until she accepts to become his wife. Hedy’s life with Fritz is not all rose and eventually escapes to America where she becomes Hedy L This is another outstanding novel based on a real character by Marie Benedict. The Only Woman in the Room is the story of Hedy Kiesler, an Austrian rising star. After a controversial movie debut, she finds find great success in the role of Empress Elizabeth at the theatre. She is quickly noticed by Austrian weapon dealer, Fritz Mandl who pursues her interminably until she accepts to become his wife. Hedy’s life with Fritz is not all rose and eventually escapes to America where she becomes Hedy Lamarr, Hollywood star.Hedy has a secret which is eating at her. In an effort to atone herself, she recruits the help of music composer George Antheil to develop a radio guidance system which would increase the accuracy of torpedoes. How can a movie star and a music composer develop such an advanced technology? Don’t be surprised and read the book. You will find out that Hedy Lamarr is much more than just beauty, she is brain as well. This is a fantastic book which will keep you reading and cheering for Ms. Lamarr.Thank you to Raincoast Books for my advance reader’s copy. The Only Woman in the Room will be available at your favourite bookstore on January 15, 2019.Follow me on Blogger @ http://guylous.blogspot.comor on Instagram @twodogsandabook to see my latest book reviews. 🔹 🔹#bookstagram #bookstagrammer #book #books #booklover #bookish #bookreview #bookdragon #bookaholic #reading #readersofinstagram #instaread #ilovebooks #bookaddicted #bookishcanadians #theonlywomanintheroom #mariebenedict #historicalfiction #fiction #sourcebooks #hedylamarr
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  • Theresa Smith Writes
    January 1, 1970
    Fictional biographies are fast becoming one of my favourite sub-genres, particularly when they’re about the under-valued achievements of women from history. I’m not sure if more of them are being released all of a sudden or if it’s just that I’m taking more notice of them, but either way, I am enjoying them a lot. Marie Benedict sums up in her author notes why I love these stories so much:‘Faulty assumptions about women’s capabilities, stemming in part from the conscripted roles into which they’ Fictional biographies are fast becoming one of my favourite sub-genres, particularly when they’re about the under-valued achievements of women from history. I’m not sure if more of them are being released all of a sudden or if it’s just that I’m taking more notice of them, but either way, I am enjoying them a lot. Marie Benedict sums up in her author notes why I love these stories so much:‘Faulty assumptions about women’s capabilities, stemming in part from the conscripted roles into which they’d been slotted, has caused many to think more narrowly about the manner in which the past has been shaped. But unless we begin to view historical women through a broader, more inclusive lens – and rewrite them back into the narrative – we will continue to view the past more restrictively than it likely was, and we risk carrying those perspectives over into the present.’On that note, let’s turn our attention to the woman who is the focus of Marie Benedict’s latest novel, The Only Woman in the Room: Hedy Lamarr. Described by many biographers as the ‘most beautiful woman in the world’ Hedy was far more than a glamourous face. She was resourceful, brave, analytical and intelligent. Her talent for acting proved its worth off the stage on more than one occasion throughout her life, particularly while she was married to her first husband, Austrian arms dealer, Fritz Mandl. Married to Mandl at the age of nineteen, theirs was a relationship built from fear and obsession. Mandl’s powerful connections within Austria were well known and her family felt as though they had no choice but to agree to the marriage, foreseeing the possibility that Mandl may be able to provide protection if Hitler ever expanded his reign into Austria. Mandl appeared to be obsessed with Hedy’s beauty, and as his wife, she became ‘the only woman in the room’ on many occasions of highly secretive war talks. Mandl restrained Hedy, obsessively controlled her as much as possible and was often violent towards her:‘By imprisoning me, it seemed, he hoped to cage the rampant virus that was Hitler. I became the unspoken emblem of the evil within and without whenever he needed a place to vent his anger.’He also underestimated her and by allowing her to be ‘the only woman in the room’ he gifted her with extensive knowledge about the Nazis and their plans for Europe’s Jews.‘The gravity of my crime had become clear. Could I have helped the European Jews if I’d made known that the Nuremberg Laws were not the limit of Hitler’s plans? I bore the blame for keeping this secret. My silence and selfishness had allowed the floodgates to open, but what was I going to do to make amends?’The knowledge that Hedy came by through her marriage to Fritz became a heavy burden for her. While she was able to escape to Paris, then London, and finally to Hollywood, this knowledge plagued her and as the war in Europe escalated and word of the atrocities filtered over to the US to her, this burden manifested itself into guilt, which over time, propelled her to take action. Movie star by day, scientific inventor by night, Hedy, along with musician and composer George Antheil, invented a technology and went on to patent it, only to have it rejected by the military on account of it being invented by a woman. They instead suggested that she use her beauty to sell war bonds for the war effort – which she ended up doing and making more money for the war than anyone ever before her. But the frustration of this dismissal must have stung. She had especially not used the Hedy Lamarr name in order to avoid not being taken seriously, but in the end, she still wasn’t taken seriously.‘Hedy’s scientific legacy lives among us in ways she never could have envisioned – nor could anyone else in 1942 when she and George Antheil received their patent. By creating aspects of the foundation for current cell phones, her ideas are woven into the technological texture of nearly everyone’s lives and the fabric of modern society. But the events leading up to Hedy’s invention and the manner in which the military rejected its use in World War II – using instead her astonishing beauty to raise money for the war – leave another legacy, particularly when the military and its contractors later utilised her work without crediting her influence for decades. They are an important testament to the marginalisation of the contributions of historical women, both in their own time and beyond.’Marie Benedict has used a lot of sources to piece together these parts of Hedy’s life, but of course, this is a fictional biography, so creative license is expected. Even taking this into account, I thoroughly enjoyed this portrayal of Hedy’s early adult years. There was a lot of plausibility embedded within the narrative. Hedy finally was given recognition for her scientific efforts in the 1990s, but if her invention had been implemented during WWII, one can’t help but ponder on how many lives might have been saved. This novel is fast paced and concise, it covers a lot of ground and time with minimal fuss and maximum action. In many ways, it is devoid of the usual descriptions of scene and incidentals, cutting right to the quick and giving you the facts without the frippery. Maybe this comes from the author being a lawyer. I enjoyed the style, the pace lending the narrative an urgency that matched the story. This is the third fictional biography Marie Benedict has written and I am keen to read the previous two. If they are anything like The Only Woman in the Room, I am certain I will enjoy them.Thanks is extended to Sourcebooks Landmark via NetGalley for providing me with a copy of The Only Woman in the Room for review.
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  • Marianne Fokas
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Net Galley for an advanced copy of this enjoyable book. All I’ve ever known about Hedy Lamarr is that she was a beautiful and glamorous actress, the ultimate sex symbol. I had no idea that she was a scientist and inventor! The story of her life in Austria, her marriage to Fritz Mandl, a weapons and ammunition manufacturer who she basically flees from when it’s evident that he is negotiating with Hitler, and her eventual success in acting and her invention of a torpedo system that would Thank you Net Galley for an advanced copy of this enjoyable book. All I’ve ever known about Hedy Lamarr is that she was a beautiful and glamorous actress, the ultimate sex symbol. I had no idea that she was a scientist and inventor! The story of her life in Austria, her marriage to Fritz Mandl, a weapons and ammunition manufacturer who she basically flees from when it’s evident that he is negotiating with Hitler, and her eventual success in acting and her invention of a torpedo system that would be accurate and not be subject to jamming by the Nazis, totally intrigued me. I don’t think I can ever look at a cell phone again and not think of Hedwig Kiesler a brilliant woman!
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