• The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post

  • A Novel
  • By: Allison Pataki
  • Narrated by: Barrie Kreinik
  • Length: 14 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (836 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • “Marvelous . . . I just had to be there with the Post cereal heiress through every twist and turn.”—Martha Hall Kelly, New York Times bestselling author of Lilac Girls

“New-money heiress Marjorie Post isn’t content to remain a society bride as she remakes herself into a savvy entrepreneur, a visionary philanthropist, a presidential hostess, and much more. Allison Pataki brings a towering legend to life.”—Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network

Mrs. Post, the President and First Lady are here to see you. . . . So begins another average evening for Marjorie Merriweather Post. Presidents have come and gone, but she has hosted them all. Growing up in the modest farmlands of Battle Creek, Michigan, Marjorie was inspired by a few simple rules: always think for yourself, never take success for granted, and work hard—even when deemed American royalty, even while covered in imperial diamonds. Marjorie had an insatiable drive to live and love and to give more than she got. From crawling through Moscow warehouses to rescue the Tsar’s treasures to outrunning the Nazis in London, from serving the homeless of the Great Depression to entertaining Roosevelts, Kennedys, and Hollywood’s biggest stars, Marjorie Merriweather Post lived an epic life few could imagine.

Marjorie’s journey began gluing cereal boxes in her father’s barn as a young girl. No one could have predicted that C. W. Post’s Cereal Company would grow into the General Foods empire and reshape the American way of life, with Marjorie as its heiress and leading lady. Not content to stay in her prescribed roles of high-society wife, mother, and hostess, Marjorie dared to demand more, making history in the process. Before turning thirty she amassed millions, becoming the wealthiest woman in the United States. But it was her life-force, advocacy, passion, and adventurous spirit that led to her stunning legacy.

And yet Marjorie’s story, though full of beauty and grandeur, set in the palatial homes she built such as Mar-a-Lago, was equally marked by challenge and tumult. A wife four times over, Marjorie sought her happily-ever-after with the blue-blooded party boy who could not outrun his demons, the charismatic financier whose charm turned to betrayal, the international diplomat with a dark side, and the bon vivant whose shocking secrets would shake Marjorie and all of society. Marjorie did everything on a grand scale, especially when it came to love.

Bestselling and acclaimed author Allison Pataki has crafted an intimate portrait of a larger-than-life woman, a powerful story of one woman falling in love with her own voice and embracing her own power while shaping history in the process.

©2022 Allison Pataki (P)2022 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“This is an absolutely terrific novel. If you want to know more about the twentieth century, it’s all here . . . and if you want to be inspired by a brilliant, gorgeous, and powerful woman, then Marjorie Post fits will fill the bill. . . . Pataki manages to make every chapter in this long and complicated life fascinating. Marjorie’s love life is as enthralling as it is heartbreaking. Her four successive husbands are unequal to the task of truly loving a woman of such wealth and power. She never admits defeat, however, and ultimately embodies the ideal of a true American hero.”—Historical Novel Society

“Allison Pataki takes the reader on a luxurious ride filled with jet-setting locales and opulent mansions, while deftly revealing how Marjorie Post’s humble beginnings fed her desire to become a new kind of heiress, forging her own way through the world and keenly aware of her legacy.”—Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue 

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post is a richly detailed and impeccably researched triumph. Historical fiction readers will love this immersive and sweeping tribute to the fascinating Marjorie Merriweather Post.”—Chanel Cleeton, New York Times bestselling author of The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba

What listeners say about The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post

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That's 10 hours of my life I'll never get back

I still have a few hours left of this audiobook, with Ms. Post diving into her fourth marriage, and I've gone from losing interest to being annoyed that I stuck with it as long as I did.

I went in knowing next to nothing about Marjorie Post, but was intrigued by the times and places she lived, and the things she and her family accomplished. Having gotten this far, I can't decide if she really was oblivious and vapid or if she was done a terrible disservice by this writer. At one point we go from a drawn out description of the finery and furs Ms. Post (now Mrs. Davies) brings with her to Russia, to her observations about how the people there are starving and miserable. Intentional juxtaposition intended to demonstrate what an awful human Ms. Post was, or simply a poorly told story? I'll never know.

Also this author really needs a thesaurus. After hearing the words "decamped" and "glowered" one too many times, I rolled my eyes hard enough to make me finally give up on this story.

This book is way too long with way too much time spent on the minutiae of all the things Ms. Post accumulated, and her pattern of jumping into the same marriage over and over again, and too little time spent exploring the true essence of who she was and the fascinating time in which she lived.

8 people found this helpful

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Wonderful!

Fantastic narration and an incredible, fulfilling life that Marjorie Post lived. What a great story!

4 people found this helpful

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Amazing!!

This is a captivating and beautiful story about one of the greatest American women ever. It is wonderfully narrated and easy to listen to. Highly recommend!

3 people found this helpful

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Fantastic story

The narration was superb and what a life Majorie lived. I loved her story and enjoyed learning all about her companies that are still in business today.

3 people found this helpful

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Good, but linear

Overall, I liked the book. I did want to finish it. But, as one of the Amazon reviews said, this was a woman who lived through some fascinating history and a lot of it was a side story. Her time in Russia was very interesting. It made me want to read a biography as she probably had much more to do with General Foods than was depicted. She had the foresight to buy the Birdseye company before many Americans had "iceboxes"; that's pretty amazing. She was a woman in business long before it was acceptable. I love that they invented Grape Nuts given how in demand they were during Covid! Clearly, she was smart and astute (until her 4th marriage, no spoiler here!). The narration was a bit too "east coast old money" for someone who was supposedly raised in Battle Creek, MI. But, maybe that was an affectation she adopted. What I thought was funny were things like the descriptions of well-known historical facts, like how Lyndon B. Johnson became president or why FDR didn't stand. Those didn't give the reader much credit. Anyway, it's an easy and enjoyable listen. She is fascinating and I'm sure she was a force, but in kid gloves, which was likely the point.

3 people found this helpful

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  • L
  • 05-28-22

Fabulous!

As a member of Hillwood estate & gardens, the joy her legacy provides to me, my family, friends & all who visit her home in DC is even more fabulous to hear how it became what it is! What lives she led! Such a joy to listen to, the performance of this audiobook was worth every penny!

2 people found this helpful

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Couldn’t put it down!

I love a book that sucks you in from the beginning and hold your attention throughout. I could tell within the first couple minutes that this would be one of those books! Marjorie Post was a fascinating lady. The book is so well written and the narration was excellent. Highly recommend!

2 people found this helpful

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Magnificent!

Very enjoyable! Held my attention to the end. I did not know what to expect when I started. It was an artful blend of fact and fiction.

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Incredible story

Extremely interesting story about an American heiress and icon. What an extraordinary life she lead!

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A Magnificent story about a truly amazing and inspiring woman

A truly remarkable story about an amazing woman. Wonderfully told with details So vivid I felt like I was at the dinner parties and dancing in the beautiful halls smelling the flowers and feeling the crisp air. By far, this is the best book I’ve ever read. It motivates me to be a better woman.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jule
  • 04-17-22

Compelling listening

This is the story of one of the most interesting women of the twentieth century. It is not a short book, but as Marjorie grows from a six years old we connect with her, travelling through the next eighty years, living every fear, friendship, disappointment, grief, joy, love affair, decision and inner thought alongside her. The poverty precedes the outrageous wealth, and all its trappings. The luxury, extravagance and decadence is cleverly balanced by the philanthropy and generosity, allowing us to warm to the character. It is beautifully written and brilliantly read. It was only afterwards that I realised the voice of the six year old had developed throughout Marjorie’s life, until she reached her final years. And, I love the fact this is a true story.

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  • Sally Borrell
  • 06-28-22

Marjorie Post

What an amazing woman! If we can do half of the things she accomplished we would be amazing too!!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-14-22

A long story of indulgence and privilege

one long story of indulgence, no substance to it, narrated well though. wouldn't recommend