I received a free copy of Marlene: A Novel of Marlene Dietrich for my honest review.
About the Book:
Publication Date: May 24, 2016
Hardcover & eBook; 384 Pages
Genre: Historical/Biographical/Women’s Fiction
A lush, dramatic biographical novel of one of the most glamorous and alluring legends of Hollywood’s golden age, Marlene Dietrich—from the gender-bending cabarets of Weimar Berlin to the lush film studios of Hollywood, a sweeping story of passion, glamour, ambition, art, and war from the author of Mademoiselle Chanel.
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 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, she tours with the USO, performing for thousands of Allied troops in Europe and Africa.
But one day she returns 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.
About the Author:
C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.
After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.
In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding.
Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.
I went into this novel with very limited knowledge of Ms. Dietrich. I have a big interest in the old movies and I’ve seen her in some movies but I think you could put what I really know about her in a couple of sentences. That is why I love reading – whether it be a biography or a novelization – it brings a character to life. It’s my job as a reader to sort the real from the made up. I trust Mr. Gortner as a writer to not go too far afield with his storytelling. I’ve read several books of his at this point and he has a way of bringing this historical women to life.
The book is told in Marlene’s voice and it starts when she is a young girl dealing with issues at school. Her mother is a very disciplined woman and expects nothing short of perfection from her girls. Marlene’s sister is “fragile” so she gets away with things Marlene never could and this causes friction. I found it interesting to visit the mundane before the more adventurous Marlene took over.
And that Marlene is the star of the book. Once she discovers her power there is no holding her back. She learns how to manipulate both men and women. She learns the power of her beauty and she uses it. I am not sure I came out of this reading liking Ms. Dietrich – from what I gleaned after some further research I’m not sure she was a likable woman but she was determined.
The book was a fascinating read about a legendary woman. She lived through some very troubled times including the rise of the Nazis in her home country. Mr. Gortner has an easy writing style that makes the journey through Ms. Dietrich’s life worth the time.
Tour Wide Giveaway:
To enter the Marlene Blog Tour Giveaway please see the GLEAM form below.
Winner #1 will receive a copy of Marlene by C.W. Gortner.
Winner #2 will receive a copy of Marlene by C.W. Gortner & a Marlene-inspired necklace and matching bracelet. Hand-beaded in Guatemala, lime-green and purple beads. Necklace is Egyptian-style drape, and bracelet has centerpiece purple floral gemstone design.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on June 7th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.