The New York Times and USA Today Bestseller!
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.
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.