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      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.

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"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

"Beautiful Invention deftly weaves Hedwig Kiesler's life as an intelligent, daring woman with the seductive, exotic Hedy Lamarr MGM invented and displayed to a fascinated public. It’s fast, fun, fascinating, enjoyable, intriguing, and recommended." Historical Novels Review

"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

"Set against the backdrop of World War II, including a heady mix of Hollywood stars, this book provides an insight into the life of one of the film greats. Her rise from lowly script girl to big screen fame is charted in detail, providing us with clues to the real woman behind the glamorous persona . . . Hedy Lamarr, once touted as one of the most beautiful women in films, is vividly brought to life in Beautiful Invention. Those interested the early days of Hollywood glamour will love this book." Reader's Favorite



2019 New Hampshire Literary Award
Outstanding Work of Fiction


NH Literary Award Outstanding Work of Fiction



Beautiful Invention appears on these lists:

2021 Book Trib/Women's Fiction Writers Association Books for Women's History Month

Bustle's Recommended Golden Age Hollywood Historical Novels

Links to interviews about this novel:

Interview with Margaret Porter, author of Beautiful Invention: A Novel of Hedy Lamarr

An Author's Inspiration: Beautiful Invention

Transported to Hedy Lamarr's Time and Place

Hedy Lamarr and Hollywood Christmas



Author Margaret Porter on Instagram Author Margaret Porter on Facebook Author Margaret Porter on Goodreads Author Margaret Porter on Bookbub