Marlene Dietrich wasn't an icon for me until I saw her in Destry Rides Again, and then I wanted to see all her movies. I knew that she first had succeMarlene Dietrich wasn't an icon for me until I saw her in Destry Rides Again, and then I wanted to see all her movies. I knew that she first had success in Weimar Germany. My concept of Weimar Germany is based on The Berlin Stories: The Last of Mr Norris/Goodbye to Berlin, a short story collection by Christopher Isherwood which is best known for its musical adaptation, Cabaret. I imagined Marlene Dietrich within that environment which was so unconventional and so free. This was the Marlene Dietrich that I expected to see in Marlene by C. W. Gortner, and he met my expectations in spades. I received my copy of Marlene from Edelweiss in return for this honest review.
As I read C.W. Gortner's vision of Marlene Dietrich, I felt that she represented Weimar Germany's zeitgeist ( a German word that means the spirit of the time), and she never really became part of Hollywood. Hollywood studios tried to dictate what sort of life she led, but she carved out an existence for herself that was independent of Hollywood expectations. She always looked for ways to get around rules in order to do as she pleased.
Readers who are uncomfortable with a protagonist who has a great deal of sex with both genders should not read this book. Neither should readers who are upset by adultery. Marlene was bisexual, and had unconventional views about relationships.
I found this novel very entertaining and I would definitely read another book by C.W. Gortner.
I am rather fond of the concept on which the Saint-Germain vampire novels by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro is based because they are really historical fiction I am rather fond of the concept on which the Saint-Germain vampire novels by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro is based because they are really historical fiction from the POV of an ancient immortal being who is an outsider in every human culture. I enjoy them because I love historical fiction particularly when they are from the perspective of an outsider. Unfortunately, many recent novels in the Yarbro series contained a great many irrelevant info dumps to display the author's research. I got tired of them and stopped reading the series.
So I was delighted to find Sinfonia: First Notes on the Lute by David W. Landrum which is the first volume in a series about Nelleke, a musician who was born in 16th century Holland. I received a free copy from the author in return for this honest review.
The novel tells the story of how Nelleke became a vampire. Landrum accurately portrays the era's severe restrictions on girls and women that led Nelleke to flee her native country for Elizabethan England. Landrum's depiction of Elizabethan England as a culture of contradictions and extremes was quite believable. He obviously did his research.
The most interesting aspect of Sinfonia's universe is that Landrum develops vampire society. Readers will judge these vampires on the basis of their own ethical code. A vegan probably wouldn't consider any vampires ethically compatible.
I enjoyed Nelleke as a character and would like to continue to read about her in historical contexts.