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The Only Woman in the Room

Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
Length: 8 hrs and 54 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (3,746 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2019 Marie Benedict (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

incredible true story about heddy Lamar

This was a book club pick and I couldn't be more excited to have read it. In fact, shortly after, I was able to hear the author speak in Charleston and she was just as captivating as her book. It's a story about a Hollywood movie star, Heddy Lamar. She weaves historical fact with her imagined dialogue based on an enormous amount of research. She has written other historical fiction books including The Other Einstein. The book is riveting and comes on the heals of a documentary released in 2018 about a little known story about Heddy Lamar's amazing invention of a radio guidance system using frequency hopping for torpedoes during WWII. A must read. beautifully written and the narrator was fantastic. I applaud her ability to easily (or it seemed so) pronounce difficult German and Austrian names and words. bravo!

164 of 171 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Author missed her chance

I think the author really missed the chance to write what could have been a really interesting book about the woman who's mind saw the "future" in the technology that affects our everyday lives - cell phones. I was hoping for a well written telling of Hedy Lamarr's mind, personality and life that led to her scientific writings & inventions. But sadly the author spent more time writing about Lamarr's looks, clothing, jewels and homes and how she thought her mother didn't love her, her husbands not knowing & loving her for her mind not body. It took more than half the book to finally get to how science and technology were important to Lamarr. And then to contribute as the reason for her invention was Lamarr's guilt and need for penitence. Seriously?? Also, the author's treatment of George Antheil, as just a sidekick to Lamarr's inventions - it is insulting to him. The author's note was more interesting than the whole book.
I have enjoyed listening to Suzanne Toren's narration of other titles. But for this title - I just didn't like her interpretation. Maybe if the narrator had been different I would have liked this book better OR if the book had been better I would have liked Toren.

56 of 58 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • VK
  • 06-22-19

If you like Hedy Lamarr, see the Bombshell instead

Premise was interesting but eventually turned out to be a dull read. Dwelled too much on Hedy's relationship with her first husband and not enough on any other parts. Characters were weakly described. If it was not for the fascinating woman that Hedy was, I would not have bothered to complete the book.

79 of 83 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A tired study in self importance

Fascinating life story but halfway through the book, the author seems compelled to state and restate the main character’s heart felt guilt and then, the details of her invention over and over again until I fought the edge to fast forward to the end. It was a relief for the book to end.

43 of 46 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Written like a romance novel...

Complete with bodice ripping. The fictionalization of this incredible woman’s life does her no justice. The narration is slow and ponderous.

66 of 72 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Brilliant Woman Ahead of Her Time

The Only Woman in the Room

Hedy Lamarr was both stunningly beautiful and stunningly smart. But could the world handle both?

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

SUMMARY
May 17, 1933, the beautiful Hedwig Kiesler is on stage performing the role of her life in Vienna, when she captures the attention of the richest and most powerful man in Austria. Arms manufacturer, Friedrich Mandl lavishes dozens and dozens of roses on the young actress after every performance. Hedwig soon finds herself married to Friedrich, living in a castle and attending lavish dinner parties where the discussions are on arms manufacturing, weaponry, politics, and German aggression. She understood these conversations more than anyone would guess.

Desperate to escape her controlling husband and the rise of the Nazi party, Hedy disguises herself and flees from Austria to London in 1937. She lands in Hollywood, and becomes the beautiful screen star Hedy Lamarr. But her guilt for surviving, when so many in her birth country perished, ultimately move her to action. Because of her unique intelligence, insight and knowledge of weaponry, Hedy is able to invent an improved guidance system to enhance the accuracy of Navy torpedos. But will anyone listen to a woman about such things?


REVIEW
This fabulously written book explores Hedy’s early life, her disturbing marriage, her glamorous Hollywood stardom and her brilliant inventions to help the Allies defeat the Nazi’s. But THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM is about so much more. My favorite part of this book is in fact, it’s concept. Author MARIE BENEDICT is passionate about shining a light on the hidden roles of women in our history and rewriting them back into the narrative. She has done an exceptional job at that here, as well as in her previous two novels: The Other Einstein (2016) and Carnegie’s Maid (2018).

I was drawn like a moth to a flame to this necessary and insightful book. The book reveals Hedy to be an amazingly strong and brilliant woman. She was a woman who knew how and when to stand up for herself. If this book isn’t on your reading list, it should be. She exudes perseverance and fortitude, and is a role model for us all. I listened to the Audible version of this book and Suzanne Toren’s narration brought Hedy’s voice to life.


Excerpt from Authors Note:
“Whether Hedy’s work on spread spectrum technology was purposefully disregarded or unconsciously forgotten, it appears that embedded in her oversight were misconceptions about her abilities; about all women really. Faulty assumptions about women’s capabilities....has caused many to think more narrowly about the manner in which the past has been shaped. But unless we begin to view historical women through a broader, more inclusive lens, and rewrite them back into the narrative, we will continue to view the past more restrictively than it likely was. And we risk carrying those perspectives over into the present.”

Publisher Audible Studios
Published January 8, 2019
Narrated Suzanne Toren

88 of 98 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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One of the Best Historical Fiction Books!!

A great story about the rise of Hitler, one familiy:s endurance as Jews in Europe, the rise of a beautiful and talented actress who escaped the War while not revealing herself as Jewish, the sexual bias against women that prevented the use of an invention accepted by the US Patent Office and the selling of bonds by this same woman in support of the War effort, all told by The Only Woman in the Room, the amazingly talented and brilliant Hedy Lamarr! Worth every minute. I learned di much! Many thanks to a brilliant author.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Annoying prose

I’m sorry. The story was good, but the heroine’s internal dialog was often unnecessary or tiresome. I actually turned it off while stuck in traffic.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

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worth reading

excellent book! wasn't sure I would like it...I loved it! I learned so much about Hedy Lamar, the war, and the oppression of women.

25 of 28 people found this review helpful

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A potential Nobel Laurate

There are surprises in each chapter- from scantily dressed early screenplay artist to terrorized wife of a wealthy arms dealer barely escaping him and her beloved Austria for Hollywood . But few know of her invention which if employed could have saved thousands of Allied soldier’s lives and which formed the basis of many inventions including cel phones. A beauty indeed but a woman with a remarkable mind. Regrettably she was not put forward for a Nobel prize for she was certainly meritorious . L.K. MD FRCPC EMERITA PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE

29 of 34 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-20-19

Amazing story

What an amazing story of an inspiring woman. I loved finding out about a woman I am embarresed to say I didn't know.