Review by Booklist Review
Benedict (Carnegie's Maid, 2018) reimagines the lesser-known aspects of renowned Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr. In 1937, fleeing her abusive, controlling husband, military-arms dealer Friedrich Mandl, and an increasingly powerful and ruthless Nazi regime, the Jewish, Austrian-born Hedy escapes to London, where she connects with and charms an impressed Louis B. Mayer. In Hollywood, she is billed as the most beautiful woman in the world, but her flawless face masks an inquisitive scientific brain. Unable to forget the military secrets she learned while married to Mandl and eager to assist the Allied cause, Hedy teams with avant-garde composer George Anthiel, ultimately inventing a radio-guided torpedo system. Though never used during the war, their ingenious invention was instrumental in the evolution of blue-tooth technology. Benedict's compelling fictionalized biography pays tribute to the overlooked scientific contributions and the hidden depths of a stunning beauty and beloved movie star of superior intelligence and verve through an irresistible combination of Hollywood glamour and international intrigue. Lamarr-smitten readers who want the full true story will revel in Richard Rhodes' stellar biography, Hedy's Folly (2011), too.--Margaret Flanagan Copyright 2018 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In her rousing historical novel, Benedict (Carnegie's Maid) imagines lesser known aspects of Hedy Lamarr's life-before she took the film world by storm in the '40s, and her later efforts as a hobbyist inventor during her acting years. In 1933, 19-year-old Hedwig "Hedy" Keisler, of Jewish heritage, is performing in a stage production in Vienna when she catches the eye of military munitions manufacturer Friedrich Mandl. His wealth and influence in the face of threats to Austria's precarious independence lead Hedy's parents to encourage a union. Mandl is a controlling, abusive husband, but the keenly intelligent Hedy-whose intellectual curiosity was always encouraged by her father-absorbs every word of her husband's meetings with high-level political and military operatives, hiding her growing horror at her husband's willingness to offer concessions to fascist influences. In 1937, Hedy escapes his hold and heads to Los Angeles, where she takes the screen name of Lamarr and strikes a lucrative contract with MGM. As her career blossoms and war wages in Europe, Hedy, learning of Hitler's treatment of Jews, sets out to create something that could change the stakes in the Allied effort: a radio-guided torpedo system far superior to the one already in use. Benedict paints a shining portrait of a complicated woman who knows the astonishing power of her beauty but longs to be recognized for her sharp intellect. Readers will be enthralled. Agent: Laura Dail, Laura Dail Literary Agency. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
One of the most beautiful women ever to grace the silver screen, Hedy Lamarr also designed a secret weapon against Nazi Germany.In her latest portrayal of a lesser-known woman scientist, Benedict (The Other Einstein, 2016, etc.) spins the tale of Lamarr, born Hedwig Kiesler, from her late teens in Austria through her success in Hollywood. Born to Jewish parents in a posh Vienna neighborhood, Hedy endures her mother's criticism while following her father's encouragement to pursue both science and acting. Although she finds early success with the risqu Ecstasy, the film's nudity haunts her efforts to be taken seriously. Just as she achieves the respect of her peers as a stage actress, Hedy catches the eye of Fritz Mandl, a wealthy, charismatic older man who owns several munitions factories. Rumored to have mistreated his former mistresses and to be in league with the fascist (albeit anti-Nazi) Austrian Christian Social Party, Fritz determines to wine, dine, and wed Hedy. Once married, however, Hedy finds herself virtually imprisoned and often abused by her jealous husband. Yet Hedy proves invaluable to Fritz when she begins to gather secret information from their well-connected, politically ambitious house guests. After all, who would suspect such a beautiful woman of understanding military secrets? Yet as Germany and Italy begin to join forces against Austria, Hedy discovers just how mercenary Fritz can be. A daring escape leads Hedy to America, where she vows never to be under another man's thumb. Once out of Fritz's reach, Hedy not only returns to acting, but also embarks on a new career as an inventor. Remembering the sensitive information carelessly revealed at Vienna dinner parties, she develops a brilliant radio-communication device. But will the American Navy accept such a weapon from a woman?A captivating story of a complicated woman blazing new trails. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.