Book reviewed by Dinh.
Read the synopsis here.
Upon reading the blurb on the book jacket, I was excited to get started on The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki.
The book cover, with a picture of a woman’s back, suggested that it may have lots of romance and I was hoping that it wasn’t the case! I’m not a big romance genre fan.
So was it worth the read? Yes! I love it when a book exceeds my expectations. This book did just that and more!
Here’s why you should check it out:
This is not your typical read as it’s a historical fiction based on a formidable woman, Majorie Merriweather Post. If you haven’t heard of her, you might know of Post Cereal or General Foods as it was later known, in which her father C. W. Post started the company.
I loved that the ‘Majorie Post’ book is based on a real person and you journey with her through her life. It’s a fictional biographical novel that transports you to the time she was helping her dad’s new company by gluing cereal boxes, to her death in 1973.
Told from a first person point of view, we feel the ups and downs of her four marriages and her remarkable life. This point of view helped to relate to Majorie and connect with her.
Furstly, Pataki does a great job in keeping my interest in this book. The story flowed and there wasn’t a moment that I lost interest. I was pulled into Majorie’s life and Pataki does a great job of telling her story.
Secondly, Pataki’s portrayal of Majorie’s life and her husbands was well executed. She captured the weaknesses and sensibilities of each person well.
Thirdly, as a reader looking in Majorie’s life, I was pulled into hoping for the best for Majorie’s love life, although ultimately knowing that it would go sideways. I love it when I root for a character!
Majorie had four husbands and we do get to know her love life and what motivated her. I found Majorie fascinating and wished that the book had a bit more info on the other aspects of her life. This book is written for entertainment so it mainly focused on her marriages.
For those like me wanting more history and facts, please check out Marjorie’s biography American Empress by Nancy Rubin.
Overall, Pataki does a great job in telling Majorie’s epic life. It was entertaining and had enough historical details that were significant.
All the main characters in this book were interesting!
Majorie Merriweather Post was an impressive woman! She was a great business woman and was a philanthropist. As a wealthy socialite she used her position to do good whenever there was a need. I loved that she did a fund raiser to build a hospital for the poor and invited all her rich friends to participate. Also, during the Great Depression she opened soup kitchens for the needy.
The differences in Majorie’s husbands were intriguing; non were alike.
Majorie first husband was investment banker Edward Close. They met in Connecticut, had a whirlwind relationship and he proposed to her and they married in 1905. Edward was from old money and had a traditional view of what his wife should be like. Majorie tried to make their relationship work but their differences in expectations were too far to bridge and they divorced 1919.
I thought Marjorie’s second marriage to financier Edward “Ned” Hutton would have been perfect for her. He was charming and knew how to work hard and played hard. Ned gave up his job and took the position as chairperson for the Postum Cereal Company. He was good at his job and together they expanded the company. Alas, their marriage did not work out. He was resentful of Majorie for wanting to buy Birds Eye Frozen Foods and her buying it behind his back. Finally they divorced in 1935 because he was cheating on her.
Although Majorie swore off men, in 1935 she married Joseph Davies, a Washington D.C. lawyer. Davies served as an American ambassador in the Soviet Union in 1937-1938. They lived there and acquired valuable Russian artwork.
Majorie’s final husband was Herbert May, a businessman. They married in 1958 and divorced in 1964.
I loved the ending. As the book was chronologically sequenced on Majorie’s life, it goes without saying that she died in the end.
The epilogue was just perfect- a reminder of Majorie’s generosity and how life comes back full circle.
My Final Thoughts
I highly recommend The Magnificent Lives Of Majorie Post by Allison Pataki. This biographical historical fiction was an awesome read.
Belong to a book club? Check out The Magnificent Lives Of Majorie Post Book Club Discussion Questions!