The B&N Podcast: Marie Benedict on Hedy Lamarr’s Hidden Genius

Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper. The Barnes & Noble Podcast goes between the lines with today’s most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, what confounds them, and what they were thinking when they wrote the books we’re talking about.

Most people know Hedy Lamarr as one of the stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age, billed by MGM as “the most beautiful woman in the world.” What many people don’t know is that the Austrian émigré was also a brilliant scientist and inventor who worked to develop radio technologies to help defeat the Axis powers in World War II – and that her innovations have been incorporated into many devices familiar to us today. Marie Benedict’s new novel The Only Woman in the Room is a bold new re-imagining of this fascinating figure, and it’s our Barnes & Noble Book Club selection for January 2019. In this episode, Marie Benedict joins Miwa Messer for a discussion of this Lamarr’s extraordinary true story, and how she crafts her fiction out of the lives of women often left out of the history books.


She possessed a stunning beauty. She also possessed a stunning mind. Could the world handle both?

Her beauty almost certainly saved her from the rising Nazi party and led to marriage with an Austrian arms dealer. Underestimated in everything else, she overheard the Third Reich’s plans while at her husband’s side, understanding more than anyone would guess. She devised a plan to flee in disguise from their castle, and the whirlwind escape landed her in Hollywood. She became Hedy Lamarr, screen star.

But she kept a secret more shocking than her heritage or her marriage: she was a scientist. And she knew a few secrets about the enemy. She had an idea that might help the country fight the Nazis…if anyone would listen to her.

A powerful novel based on the incredible true story of the glamour icon and scientist whose groundbreaking invention revolutionized modern communication, The Only Woman in the Room is a masterpiece.

This Barnes & Noble special edition contains an interview with the author and an exclusive reading group guide.

See more books by Marie Benedict.

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Author photo of Marie Benedict (c) Anthony Mussmanno.