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.