Sunday 5 June 2016

Carole's Sunday review: Marlene - CW Gortner

Author: CW Gortner
Titles: Marlene
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: Ebook
First Published: May 2016
Where I Got It: On my shelf (Given to me by the author/publisher for my honest and unbiased opinion)

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. 

This was certainly addicting! I seriously could not put this down....I could not read fast enough! Marlene was an interesting character in both the novel and real life.

 This isn't my first novel that I've read by this author. I adore his writing! He really knows how to bring a person to life. He finds a way to not only showcase his writing style, but a way to share the unique voice of his characters. Especially with this one, I felt like Marlene wrote this herself. It was fantastic.

Marlene was an intriguing person in real life even though I have/had limited knowledge about her as a person. I've seen a handful of her films and I do adore her. She was so beautiful, strong, and a wonderful actress. I had no idea how involved she was during WWII. I'm not surprised, because many actors/actresses certainly got involved, but I had no idea HOW involved she was. 

The story starts off with her childhood and goes until right after the war. There were some time jumps, but they worked well. I'm certainly glad the author divided  the book into sections to keep the reader from getting confused and understanding when and where the story is (since it does span through lots of years). 

Why was her mom so mean to her? I get being hard on your kid and all, but man....also why did so many people think she was fat? Because she had some thighs? I get back then the look was willow-y and tall. I still think Marlene was one of the prettiest girls of her time personally. 

I really have no complaints with this book. Yes, there were some slow spots, but I feel it was well balanced. During the "slow" areas I was able to connect with the character. I want to read more about Marlene. And Bette Davis. Like Marlene, I had no idea how involved Davis was. The things you learn!

I could honestly rave about this book all day. This is definitely a contender for Book of the Year. ;) I highly recommend this to anyone who likes historical books or anyone who just like a good story about a person who made something of themselves. It is certainly worth a read. Out of five stars, I stamp this with 5. 


  1. I've never read any of his work because his subjects usually don't interest me but this one sure does. I'm glad to hear it's so good.

  2. Sounds really good, thank you - I will read this one if I can find it!

  3. I've seen a biopic of hers a while back. Is she the one who was a spy or is a scientist of some sort?

    1. She was more of a humanitarian. Some will say she was a spy. xD

  4. It was like she wrote it was a high compliment. I enjoyed her movies, but don't know much about her. Thanks for sharing, Carole!

  5. Oh it sounds like a great one there!

  6. Marlene sounds like such an awesome character! :) So kick-ass! 😙

  7. I was always curious about her and I don't feel like I know enough. I'm glad it was so well written. Great review.

  8. I love WWII stories, so this is my type of read.

  9. I've never seen any of her movies - pathetic, I know. But I'm glad her story engrossed you.



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