2019 ****1/2 247 pages
I'm ashamed to admit that I hadn't even heard of Hedy Lamarr before reading this book. Being the huge film fan I am, especially of classic film, I can't believe I'd never taken notice of the remarkable Hedy Lamarr. This book has not only turned me on to her tremendous talents but also to the talents of writer Marie Benedict. I'm anxious to see not only all of Hedy Lamarr's films but to read all of Marie Benedict's books and keep up with her unfolding career. The Only Woman in the Room is a novel told in first person, which tells the story of Hedwig Kiesler, from her time as a young actress in Austria, made notorious for her nude scene and simulated orgasm in the 1933 film Ecstasy, to her brilliant invention that was to completely change the course of World War II. The book brilliantly explores her difficult first marriage, which in spite of all its downfalls, gave birth to a brilliant mind that would go on to change the course of history, although maybe not in the way she hoped. It's a book that feels very now, with the change in culture we're going through. Women and minorities are finally being given their proper acknowledgement in our mainstream media, and part of this cultural shift needs to not only be in creating new works of art with women and minorities, but in also stripping the whitewashed veneer on our history and show us the incredible contributions they have always made to our world. Marie Benedict is a powerful voice in that field, and I am excited to see what she gives us next.