Hollywood Beauty. Brilliant inventor. The incredible true story of a remarkable and misunderstood woman.
Hedy Kiesler, Austrian actress of Jewish heritage, scandalizes Europe with her nudity in the art film Ecstasy. Her hasty marriage to a wealthy munitions merchant disintegrates as he grows increasingly controlling and possessive. Even worse—he supplies deadly weapons to Hitler’s regime.
She flees husband and homeland for Hollywood, where Louis B. Mayer transforms her into Hedy Lamarr, an icon of exotic glamour. Professional success clashes with her personal life as marriage and motherhood compete with the demands of studio and stardom.
Roused to action by the atrocities of World War II, Hedy secretly invents a new technology intended for her adopted country’s defense—and unexpectedly changes the world.
Hedy Lamarr is feted as much for her intellect as for her beauty in this captivating novel set in the 1930s. As a young Austrian actress, Hedy (born Hedwig Kiesler) makes a scandalous, avant-garde film in 1933 called Ecstasy that is star-making, but shadows her personally and professionally. Soon after, she marries a jealous, domineering supplier of military weapons to dictators, including Hitler. After several attempts to leave her marriage for a movie career in the United States, Hedy finally obtains an MGM contract from Louis Mayer. Mayer molds Hedy into a glamorous movie icon, but she becomes frustrated with roles that do not show her dramatic range, and with her image as aloof. Hedy collected six husbands and many lovers, and raised three children, yet the narrative's focus on her patented invention of a radio-controlled torpedo provides a window into a complex, highly intelligent woman. The pacing of the story is spot-on: Hedy's personal and career trajectories are excellently balanced by the secondary characters, as well as a thread about her mother being trapped in Austria and, later, London as it was being bombed. Porter's insightful account of a gifted yet often misunderstood inventor and movie star makes for a winning novel. (BookLife)\n