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Marlene by C. W. Gortner

Source: TLC Book Tours
Paperback, 432 pgs.
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Marlene by C.W. Gortner is a glittering historical novel of the famed actress Marlene Dietrich who defies her mother to become an actress after she realizes she will never become a famed violinist as her mother expected. Oblivious to her sexual appeal and to the rumors at the academy in Weimer where she studies violin with a private tutor, Marlene believes she has improved her talent, until her tutor divulges why he forged her grades. Rather than do her duty like her sister would have done, Marlene takes a different approach to this realization, seeing it as an opportunity to escape from under her mother’s strict rules.

“The first time I fell in love, I was twelve years old.” (pg. 3)

Her cloistered life with her mother and sister could not shield her from the theater or life in the limelight, as her uncle held events in his home with local actresses, writers, and others. She was drawn like a moth to the flame, and she could do little to stop herself from taking the path that lay before her — no matter the consequences, disapproval, or hardships. For all her unconventional behavior and antics, she was a woman of conviction and an iron will to achieve her goals. She survives WWI and WWII but not without permanent scars, but her strong character helps her survive even Hollywood and her critics.

“Few took him seriously — in fact, most scoffed at his diatribes — but his party had gained momentum, winning twelve parliamentary seats in the recent elections. His followers wore distinctive swastika-emblazoned armbands, marching down the boulevards and handing out crude pamphlets on corners, extolling a rabid nationalistic agenda that I found contemptible.” (pg. 170)

Marlene by C.W. Gortner will not disappoint fans of Gortner’s previous works, which also have exalted the profiles of other strong and unconventional women throughout history. He is their champion. Marlene is strong and unconventional, but her eccentricities shine through in Gortner’s novel, illuminating her complexities as a woman in a new country making a career and a woman who still believes that Germany is her home even if the Nazi’s rendered it asunder.

RATING: Quatrain

For more information about the book, check out Harper Collins’ website.

Other Reviews:

About the Author:

C.W. Gortner is the author of The Last Queen, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici and The Tudor Secret. He holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard in a Tudor great hall and experienced life in a Spanish castle. His novels have garnered international praise and been translated into thirteen languages to date. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights and environmental issues.

He’s currently at work on his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about the early years of Lucrezia Borgia, as well as the third novel in his Tudor series,The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles (US) or Elizabeth’s Spymaster (UK).

Half-Spanish by birth, C.W. lives in Northern California.  Visit him on Facebook and Twitter.

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Mailbox Monday #401

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

Books we got from Usborne included:

Billy the Goat’s Big Breakfast by Jez Alborough

Nat the Cat makes some lovely homemade bread for her friends to share. But Billy the Goat is too greedy to wait for the bread to bake — and he gulps down a sneaky mouthful of the delicious-looking dough… Soon his tummy has swollen up like a fresh loaf of bread. What will Nat the Cat say when she finds out?

Sticker Dolly Dressing Dream Jobs by Emily Bone

This is an exciting addition to the successful “Sticker Dolly Dressing” series that follows three best friends, Becca, Katy and Leyla, as they prepare to start work, then imagine what their dream jobs would be. This title features all kinds of different jobs – caring for elephants at an elephant sanctuary in Africa, scouring a crime scene for clues as a forensic scientist, working out dance routines in a hit musical, designing costumes for a period drama, and lots, lots more. It includes over 350 stickers to dress the dolls so they’re ready for each job.

The Usborne Book of Fairy Tales by Heather Amery, illustrated by Stephen Cartwright

Charming picture book of six classic fairy tales (Cinderella, The Story of Rumpelstiltskin, Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Goldilocks and the Three Bears & Three Little Pigs). Dual-level text, on each page a simple line for beginner readers and a more complex one which can be read aloud by an adult or reading child.

50 Science Things to Make & Do

Age Level: 9 and up | Grade Level: 4 and up | Series: Usborne Activities 50 Science Things to Make amp Do contains simple step-by-step activities that combine hands-on fun and scientific investigation. Authors: Georgina Andrews and Kate Knighton Format: 104 pages, hardcover, spiral bound.

Zombie Sticker Book, purchased from Usborne.

A madcap sticker book that comes with over 600 stickers which you can use to bring the zany scenes to life. It helps you discover what happens when the vibrant town of Cozyville becomes a zombie zone.

 

For Review:

Marlene by C.W. Gortner for review with TLC Book Tours in December.

Raised in genteel poverty after the first World War, Maria Magdalena Dietrich dreams of a life on the stage. When a budding career as a violinist is cut short, the willful teenager vows to become a singer, trading her family’s proper, middle class society for the free-spirited, louche world of Weimar Berlin’s cabarets and drag balls. With her sultry beauty, smoky voice, seductive silk cocktail dresses, and androgynous tailored suits, Marlene performs to packed houses, and becomes entangled in a series of stormy love affairs that push the boundaries of social convention.

For the beautiful, desirous Lili Marlene, neither fame nor marriage and motherhood can cure her wanderlust. As Hitler and the Nazis rise to power, she sets sail for America. Rivaling the success of another European import, Greta Garbo, Marlene quickly becomes one of Hollywood’s leading ladies, starring with legends such as Gary Cooper, John Wayne, and Cary Grant. Desperate for her return, Hitler tries to lure her with dazzling promises. Marlene instead chooses to become an American citizen, and after her new nation is forced into World War II, tours with the USO, performing for thousands of Allied troops in Europe and Africa.

But one day she will return to Germany. Escorted by General George Patton himself, Marlene is heartbroken by the war’s devastation and the evil legacy of the Third Reich that has transformed her homeland and the family she loved.

An enthralling and insightful account of this extraordinary legend, Marlene reveals the inner life of a woman of grit, glamour, and ambition who defied convention, seduced the world, and forged her own path on her own terms.

Dogs and Their People from BarkPost by Morgane Chang, Stacie Grissom, and illustrated by Dave Coverly, which I won from Suko’s Notebook.

Finally, Bark & Co. has tapped the humans at BarkPost, the company’s publishing arm, to put into words and photographs the first official BarkBook, capturing the depth, spirit, and power of the extraordinary bond between humans and their pups.

Mostly community-sourced and filled with never-before-told anecdotes, stories, photos, and intimate insights, Dogs and Their People spotlights over 200 unique and remarkable dogs. Some are celebri-dogs while others are just making their debut; some will make your heart ache, while others will make it soar; and others simply look really dapper in color. All bring to life and celebrate the crazy, consuming, insatiable love we feel for the World’s Ultimate Best Friend in a book that is the perfect gift for Dog Lovers everywhere.

What did you receive?