The Only Woman in the Room, Marie Benedict

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher *

The Only Woman in the Room, Marie Benedict
Author: Marie Benedict
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Pages: 272
Format: DRC
ISBN-10: 1492666866
ISBN-13: 9781492666868

The Only Woman in the Room

3 stars

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.

There are a lot of interesting women in history. Often we do not even know the role they played in important situations as their parts were obfuscated and men were put in as key player. Marie Benedict has made it her goal to put these women in front and she is doing that very well.
If you love old movies you have probably seen Hedy Lamarr at some point (and with old movies I mean those of the 1940's and early 1950's). What I was not aware of was that she also came up with the base for an invention we still use today.
We enter her life when she is about to meet Fritz Mandl in 1933 in Vienna. Though this part has interesting storylines it felt the story was focussing on how Hedy was one day going to move away from Fritz and how she would be able to do it with as much information as possible that could hurt him. The few things that showed her actual intelligence was the mention that she was able to keep up with the technical discussions at the table and was reading technical books in her free time (or time she spend imprisoned at the house). I made a note at page 190 that I missed the science part as it was specifically mentioned in the book summary.
When she arrives in Hollywood we get to read about the movies from that period and a lot of guys she was dating. Eventually we get introduced to George Antheil and the development of her invention is beginning. There is only a small chapter, when the 'Eureka' moment happens that we get a bit more on how the invention is supposed to work and how she came to that.
What we do see is a headstrong woman, a smart woman and a woman who has been fighting to be recognized. I did enjoy that part of the story a lot.
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