The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post

Ballantine. Feb. 2022. 400p. ISBN 9780593355688. $28. F
In her latest historical novel, Pataki (The Queen’s Fortune) takes on the juicy persona of socialite, businesswoman, and philanthropist Marjorie Merriweather Post. The daughter of self-made entrepreneur C. W. Post, Marjorie inherited his cereal empire and all the responsibilities that went with it. She used her enormous wealth for many worthy causes such as soup kitchens and hospitals as she expanded the reach of the Post brand over the course of the 20th century. Marjorie regularly crossed paths with heads of state and important figures of history, all while living an extravagant lifestyle filled with jewels, priceless art, and mansions. The one thing she couldn’t seem to buy, however, was lasting love. That didn’t stop her from trying (she was married four times). With so much ground to cover, Pataki skims through Post’s long and busy life, touching briefly on key moments; her use of the first person makes this historical novel read more like an autobiography.
VERDICT Fans of memoirs and novels about the Gilded Age should enjoy this well-researched book and its fascinating subject.
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