Marjorie Post was one of the richest and most influential women of her time. She wasn’t your typical heiress/socialite, though she was wealthy enough during her life to do just about anything and live just about anywhere. Her life is chronicled in this bio-novel written by author Allison Pataki. Pataki’s bio-novels have given us peaks at such lives as that of Napoleon Bonaparte’s mistress and Benedict Arnold’s wife.
Marjorie Merriweather Post was the daughter — and only child — of C.W. Post, the founder of Postum Cereal Company. From the time she was a small child, she helped her father establish his business by gluing cereal boxes together in their barn near Springfield, IL. When C.W. Post passed away in 1914, his much-loved daughter inherited the business. Her first marriage was a dismal failure. She subsequently married E.F. Hutton, who helped her expand the business by buying out other food companies such as Hellman’s and Jell-O, thereby establishing General Foods Corp.
She never found peace when it came to love, having been married a total of four times ending in four divorces. Still, she had a strong sense of self, something that her father had taught her from the cradle. She also had a strong sense of philanthropy, from establishing and financing a hospital for vets in New York City during World War I, to purchasing (and thereby saving) precious pieces of Russian art while married to Joseph E. Davies, who was appointed by FDR as a ambassador to the Soviet Union.
While her life was interesting in so many ways, I was surprised to learn that she originally built Mar-A-Lago, in Palm Beach, FL, now famous as one of the many homes of former President Donald Trump.
I love learning history from novels, and I carefully fact-checked the story as I read about the fascinating life of Ms. Post. The book was interesting, if somewhat long. It really was like reading a biography, only including dialogue. Still, I recommend the book for anyone who likes historical novels.