Marlene

Marlene Review

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.

Title:Marlene
Edition Language:English

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Julie

    Marlene by C.W. Gortner is a 2016 William Morrow publication. I will admit up front that I did not realize this was a work of fiction, at first. I was a little disappointed since I was hoping for a tr...

  • Angela M

    3.5 stars if I could , but rounded up to 4 .I can't say that I've ever seen any of her movies , but that didn't diminish at all my interest in reading this biographical novel of Marlene Dietrich. I do...

  • Diane S ?

    When I was a young girl, my sister and I spent many weekends with my maternal grandparents. As the only grandchildren they spoiled is with a great deal, of attention and love. On Saturday evening we w...

  • Kate Quinn

    I've been a fan of C.W. Gortner's books long before I met and befriended him at a conference, and Marlene Dietrich is perhaps my favorite of his heroines. She comes to life on the page: a swearing smo...

  • Chrissie

    Beware - this book does not cover Marlene Dietrich's entire life. She was born in 1901 and died in 1992. The book starts with her school years. It abruptly ends after the Second World War. It just sto...

  • Jaksen

    I won this book through Goodreads giveaway and thank you very much!But very much a so-so read. A lot of 'tell vs. show,' and dialogue that often says too much. People don't often speak the obvious, no...

  • Shomeret

    Marlene Dietrich wasn't an icon for me until I saw her in Destry Rides Again, and then I wanted to see all her movies. I knew that she first had success in Weimar Germany. My concept of Weimar Germany...

  • Meg - A Bookish Affair

    Prior to reading this book, I basically knew that Marlene Dietrich was an Old Hollywood star (with absolutely stunning bone structure) who was originally from Germany - not much at all. In this book,...

  • Frank Phillips

    DNF.... not because it was not a good book, because it was and the writing was fantastic, but simply because of the subject matter. I thought I would be fascinated by this amazing lady but not enough ...

  • Colleen

    Marlene Dietrich. Even her name seemed to perfectly typify her. And she went through a number of stages--the upper class girl / violinist turned rowdy German cabaret singer in the 20s: To the tuxedo t...