I received this book for free from Historical Fiction Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Marlene: A Novel by C.W. Gortner
Published: 2016 by William Morrow
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: ARC, Hardcover
Source: Historical Fiction Book Tours
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Marlene by C.W. Gortner is a biographical novel about Hollywood icon Marlene Dietrich. Marlene grew up in an aristocratic family that had fallen upon hard times, and her mother pressured her into nurturing her musical talent to become a concert violinist. That was never to happen, and instead Marlene rebelled and used her talent to become part of Germany’s cabaret culture, struggling to be a successful actress. At the time, Germany’s nightlife was wild and free, unchained from both gender and sexual norms.
Marlene’s love life was fascinating, and progressive even by modern standards. She was bi long before it was something people talked about, having a multitude of affairs with men and women alike. And although Marlene Dietrich did marry and have a child, her marriage is much more in line with today’s poly community. Marlene wanted to love freely and without constraint, and didn’t see her involvement with one person as taking away from her relationship with another. Marlene never felt drawn to the domestic life, and instead chose to focus on her career. As Marlene and her husband Rudi drifted apart over time, he had a mistress as well, and Tamara and Marlene were good friends.
Marlene’s film career began in Germany, but soon she accepted a contract in Hollywood. America and Germany were very different, but Marlene quickly took to her new home. Marlene became increasingly famous both in America and overseas, but in the meantime, Hitler rose to power in Germany, and Marlene found herself doing everything she could to protect her family. And as her career came to a lull, she joined the USO and performed for America’s servicemen and women.
When I began reading Marlene, I didn’t know much about Marlene Dietrich’s life. I had seen pictures, of course, and knew of her fame, but never really understood her outside of that. As in Mademoiselle Chanel, Gortner once again succeeded in capturing a vivid glimpse into the life of a remarkable woman who defied the odds and the social norms of her time in order to become a star. I was inspired by Marlene Dietrich’s story, and would highly recommend this novel to anyone interested in old Hollywood, cross-dressing heroines, and women who don’t take no for an answer.
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.
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.
Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, May 24
Review at A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, May 25
Review at Broken Teepee
Thursday, May 26
Review at To Read, or Not to Read
Friday, May 27
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, May 31
Review at Creating Herstory
Thursday, June 2
Interview at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
Friday, June 3
Review at Just One More Chapter
Sunday, June 5
Review at Carole’s Ramblings
Monday, June 6
Review at Girls Just Reading
Tuesday, June 7
Review at The Lit Bitch