Martin's Must-Reads

“We hold a piece of women’s history in our hands every day... a piece of history created - in a roundabout fashion - by Hedy Lamarr.”

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and that’s a quote from the Author’s Note of Marie Benedict’s novel The Only Woman in the Room. It’s based on the life of Hedy Kiesler, or as we know her from the American film industry, Hedy Lamarr.

Years ago when we enjoyed life with a scrappy Jack Russell terrier named Little Bit, we had a poster hanging on our refrigerator that reminded us of life lessons to learn from her. Things like “live in the moment” and “don't’ hold grudges” and “show compassion.” 

“She was not used to being hunted. The lake stretched slate blue, glittering. The woman gazed over it, hands lying loose in her lap. A folded newspaper sat beside her on the bench. The headlines all trumpeted arrests, deaths, forthcoming trials. The trials would be held in Nuremberg, it seemed.”

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and that’s the opening lines to Kate Quinn’s historical novel The Huntress. It’s the story of three very different women from 1946-1950, who, as the story begins, stand on vastly different shores.

“Holding her first grandchild in her arms in 2003, Mary Robinson was struck by the uncertainty of the world he had been born into. Before his fiftieth birthday, he would have to share the planet with more than nine billion people - people battling for food, water, and shelter in an increasing volatile climate. The faceless, shadowy menace of climate change had become, in an instant, deeply personal."

“My phone doesn’t ring often - and it makes me jump when it does - and it’s usually people asking if I’ve mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance. I whisper “I know where you live” to them and hang up the phone very, very gently. No one’s been in my flat this year apart from service professionals; I’ve not voluntarily invited another human being across my threshold, except to read the meter. You’d think that would be impossible, wouldn’t you? It’s true though. I do exist, don’t I?”