Thank you for visiting my author website. Here you will find information about my latest novel, the real people and places that inspire my storytelling, and a blog.
My current release--my 13th novel--is Beautiful Invention: A Novel of Hedy Lamarr. It's set in the 20th century--for me, a new time period!
Hedy Kiesler, Austrian actress of Jewish heritage, scandalizes Europe with her nudity in the art film Ecstasy. Her hasty marriage to a wealthy munitions merchant disintegrates as he grows increasingly controling and possessive. Even worse—her discovery that he supplies deadly weapons to Hitler’s regime.
She flees husband and homeland for Hollywood, where Louis B. Mayer transforms her into Hedy Lamarr, an icon of exotic glamour. Professional success clashes with her personal life as marriage and motherhood compete with the demands of studio and stardom.
Roused to action by the atrocities of World War II, Hedy secretly invents a new technology intended for her adopted country’s defense—and unexpectedly changes the world.
"Hedy Lamarr is feted as much for her intellect as for her beauty in this captivating novel . . . The pacing of the story is spot-on: Hedy’s personal and career trajectories are excellently balanced by the secondary characters . . . . Porter’s insightful account of a gifted yet often misunderstood inventor and movie star makes for a winning novel." ~ Publishers Weekly
“The golden age of the silver screen is brought to vivid life…Margaret Porter paints an indelible portrait of the reluctant starlet—as immigrant, inventor, and fierce patriot.” ~ Leslie Carroll, author of Notorious Royal Marriages
"“The terror felt by Lamarr, who was Jewish . . . is brilliantly conveyed by Porter, whose empathy for Lamarr and historical knowledge brings danger to the plot. Resonating with the modern reader are Lamarr's struggles within her career and private life…whilst being revered as an international star. A revealing look at Lamarr's life, it proves that she was more than just a pretty face.” The Lady Magazine (UK)
"Beautiful Invention swept me into Hedy’s life from the first page, so captivated was I by this incredible woman, fleshed out in the most compelling fashion by the author’s very assured prose, plotting and execution . . . Beautiful Invention surpasses every expectation." ~ Literary Soirée
"Beautiful Invention is a tender and poignant depiction of Hedy Lamarr’s life. Porter successfully divides her focus between Hedy’s acting career and the complex politics of the times . . . Porter details the uncertainty of Hedy’s career immediately after her arrival in the USA and peers behind the façade of glamour gilding both the mundanity and the debauchery of Hollywood’s Golden Age." ~ Caitlyn Lyle Farley
I've recently returned from my annual trip to England, which coincided with the UK launch of Beautiful Invention. In addition to researching future projects and soaking up the sunshine in rural Somerset, in London I followed in Hedy's footsteps and also spent time with author friends and my colleaugues from London Historians.
I'm a lifelong reader of historical fiction, and thus far all my published novels have been set in the past. As historian, I enjoy discovering ways in which our forbears and their culture seem similar--and yet so different--to those of us privileged to live in modern times. I regard fiction set in the past as entertainment, while being very much aware that it can simultaneously inform and enlighten.
I often have a close personal connection to the people whose stories I tell. In some cases there's a genealogical tie. Or we might share a profession (theatre, writing, film) or a favorite pastime (gardening, music). Unlike my royal characters, I've not ruled a country--and I don't want to, either! But I've had experience in governing and public service.
Because I truly enjoy researching my novels, I go to great lengths--and distances--to bring my subjects and their world to life. This website is a place to share some of what I learn in the process.
Enjoy your stay!
In London with historian Charles Spencer (Earl Spencer)
At Hampton Court Palace with the protagonist of my novel
Television interview for A Pledge of Better Times
Transported to Hedy Lamarr's Time & Place
NH Writers Project Interview
Author Spotlight: Margaret Porter
Writing Superheroes: Margaret Porter
Rebecca J. Henderson Palmer Blog
The Proposal & A Pledge of Better Times
From Filmmaker to Bestseller