The drawing of the next book-club winner is coming up on February 28th. After the drawing, I will reach out to the winner to mail them three wonderful books – The Only Woman in the Room, Victoria, and Learning to See.
Learning to See by Elise Hooper
In Learning to See, Elise Hooper tells the gripping tale of photographer Dorothea Lange, a woman torn between work and family during the brutal Great Depression. I love this book and I wrote about it more here.
The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict
The Only Woman in the Room follows the unbelievable life story of Hedy Lamarr. As a movie star, she had glamorous roles wearing high fashion, yet, off the set, Lamarr used her vast intelligence to work on inventions such as an improved traffic light, a soft drink, and the invention she patented, a frequency-hopping radio signal so that World War II enemies could not track torpedo signals.
Benedict takes this fantastic story and makes it believable.
The novel opens with young Hedy on stage in Austria before World War II, attracting the attention of an arms manufacturer she would later marry and, when he became too possessive, flee from to the United States. After the Navy Department refuses to consider Lamarr’s radio signal invention, Benedict ends with Hedy back on stage, using her beauty and glamor to raise money for the war effort, resigned to her fate.
But I wonder, after a lifetime of fighting, would not Lamarr have risen again, perhaps not in the same brilliant scale, but still come to some psychological triumph?
Victoria by Daisy Goodwin
In Victoria, Daisy Goodwin traces the path of Queen Victoria from the start of her reign to the decision to marry Albert.
I assumed that once you became queen, you had it made, but this novel explores Victoria’s tricky path to learn protocol and understand how to get and keep both public and bureaucratic support. (Todays’ uproar over Prince Andrew and Megan Markle shows it’s not an easy a path.)
Victoria realizes that she needs someone with governmental knowledge on which to rely and to remain a trusted advisor. Having at least one trusted advisor is a good lesson for all of us. Goodwin divides the book into four clear-cut divisions, perhaps because it made it easily fit with the Masterpiece Theater episodes (I haven’t watched the tv version, because I wanted to read the novel first). The book ends with her proposal to Albert, but like Victoria’s growth into becoming a confident queen, I wonder if the marital relationship might have taken some getting used to as well.
Like the Books? Want to Enter the Drawing? Join My Book Club!
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Till next time,