by: Allison Pataki
Mrs. Post, the President and First Lady are here to see you. . . .
So begins another average evening for Marjorie Merriweather Post. Presidents have come and gone, but she has hosted them all. Growing up in the modest farmlands of Battle Creek, Michigan, Marjorie was inspired by a few simple rules: always think for yourself, never take success for granted, and work hard—even when deemed American royalty, even while covered in imperial diamonds. Marjorie had an insatiable drive to live and love and to give more than she got. From crawling through Moscow warehouses to rescue the Tsar’s treasures to outrunning the Nazis in London, from serving the homeless of the Great Depression to entertaining Roosevelts, Kennedys, and Hollywood’s biggest stars, Marjorie Merriweather Post lived an epic life few could imagine.
Marjorie’s journey began gluing cereal boxes in her father’s barn as a young girl. No one could have predicted that C. W. Post’s Cereal Company would grow into the General Foods empire and reshape the American way of life, with Marjorie as its heiress and leading lady. Not content to stay in her prescribed roles of high-society wife, mother, and hostess, Marjorie dared to demand more, making history in the process. Before turning thirty she amassed millions, becoming the wealthiest woman in the United States. But it was her life-force, advocacy, passion, and adventurous spirit that led to her stunning legacy.
And yet Marjorie’s story, though full of beauty and grandeur, set in the palatial homes she built such as Mar-a-Lago, was equally marked by challenge and tumult. A wife four times over, Marjorie sought her happily-ever-after with the blue-blooded party boy who could not outrun his demons, the charismatic financier whose charm turned to betrayal, the international diplomat with a dark side, and the bon vivant whose shocking secrets would shake Marjorie and all of society. Marjorie did everything on a grand scale, especially when it came to love.
Bestselling and acclaimed author Allison Pataki has crafted an intimate portrait of a larger-than-life woman, a powerful story of one woman falling in love with her own voice and embracing her own power while shaping history in the process.
Helen says: 🤓🤓🤓3/4
Poor little rich girl- this book was kind of flowery and sugary sweet. MMP lived a pretty fascinating life though. She had terrible luck in the love department- she was married and divorced 4 times! She certainly was resilient. The most fascinating part of this book (to me) was how she acquired all of her Russian antiquities after the Bolshevik Revolution. Her husband was the American Ambassador to the Soviet Union (pre-WW2). The Russians were disgusted with opulence during that time and were glad to get rid of any memories of the Czars and the Russian monarchy. She purchased priceless jewels, Faberge eggs, and artwork by the pound from the Soviet government. They would just weigh it and sell it to her at a fixed price. Some friends and I are planning to take a pilgrimage to Hillwood- her home in Washington, D.C. I am dying to see all of her collections.
My grandmother, Big Nancy, would have LOVED this book, and it would have sat on her shelves in perpetuity. I enjoyed the book, but I did not love it. My problem may be more with the genre itself, “historical fiction”, rather than the story. Is it historical?, implying mainly fact based, or Is it fiction?, not fact based and up to the author’s imagination and interpretation. Not a bad thing, I just feel like readers often form their opinion of the real-life person based on the author’s created tale; thus, my beef with the genre. So having said all that, I give the book 3 1/2 reading nerds. Marjorie’s life was rather exciting, but the book isn’t that exciting. I was hoping for a little more spice, but maybe Marjorie herself just wasnt that spicy.