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The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict: A Book Review

The Only Woman in the Room
Author: Marie Benedict
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Release Date: January 8, 2019
Pages: 272
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: 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. 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.

     My Review: Everyone knows that Hedy Lamarr was one of Hollywood’s most glamorous movie stars. Yet, Hedy Lamarr was more than just a pretty face. She was a brilliant woman whose greatest contribution was the invention of the spread spectrum technology. She was inducted posthumously into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. The Only Woman in the Room shows the difficulties Heady struggled with becoming a serious actress and an accomplished inventor in her own right. However, because of her beauty and that she is a woman, she is not taken seriously. Heady soon feels that she will never be recognized for her works and  will always face the stigma of being a dazzling movie star.

    I have heard of Hedy Lamarr. However, I did not know much about her life. I found Hedy’s story to be very fascinating. She was a woman ahead of her times. She made a contribution that we use today like Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth. Yet, throughout her life she never got the recognition and respect that she deserved. Her first husband controlled her every move. She got movie roles based on her looks rather than her talent and her invention was rejected by the US navy because of her gender. I also admired her compassion to save millions in WWII.  Hedy was a very sympathetic figure, and I wanted her to find her happiness.

    Overall, this novel is about a misunderstood woman who yearns to find her own freedom in life. Besides Hedy, I thought the other characters were very trite and clichéd. Most of the men in the novel were male chauvinists. Half of the novel was spent on Hedy’s relationship to her abusive and controlling husband that I thought sometimes dragged the plot. The writing was choppy and disrupted the flow of the novel. Despite these flaws, I thought this novel did an exemplary job in showing Hedy’s achievements. The Only Woman in the Room proves that Hedy’s tale is an inspiration for women. It encourages them not to give up on their dreams despite the obstacles.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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