Friday, March 4, 2022

Book Review: The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki

Pages: 400
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: February 15, 2022
Publisher: Ballantine
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author:  The Accidental Empress
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 



Goodreads says, "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."


C.W. Post makes a fortune for his family when he invents cereals, such as Grape-Nuts.  His family goes from living an average life to becoming very wealthy and this changes his only child, Marjorie, greatly.  She attends a very good boarding school and brushes shoulders with influential people. However, she watches her parents' marriage falls apart and this breaks her heart. Some of the changes coming from this are good, but many are difficult for her.  As she gets older, she helps turn her father's company into General Foods, yes the General Foods, and impacts the way Americans eat. Cue frozen food! But Marjorie wants to be more than just a wife. She has plans. She not only wants to help run her father's company, but she also wants to contribute to society. And that she does! Whether she was building a new hospital, a soup kitchen, or donating her yacht to war efforts, she was always a wonderful philanthropist throughout the many years of her life.  That's not to say she didn't like to indulge. She had priceless jewels and she built Mar-a-Lago!  The one thing she never could seem to do was to secure a happy marriage though.  Allison Pataki's latest novel, The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post is a compelling and interesting glimpse into a woman who deserves to be remembered.

I was familiar with Post cereal, but I knew nothing about the Post family. The story opens with C.W. attending a sort of health retreat by none other than the Kellogg family, which made me raise my eyebrow.  That's where he gets his inspiration for his "health food." He tweaks the cereals and --boom-- he is the mastermind behind the food revolution that changed American breakfasts.  C.W. suffered from stomach issues his whole life and some of the cereals and health drinks he invented apparently helped him.  However, C.W. isn't perfect and has an affair. This impacts Marjorie greatly. It takes her awhile to bounce back from this betrayal to her mother, and then C.W.'s life ends tragically and unexpectedly. Marjorie finds herself as sole heiress.

Marjorie fights for the company from C.W.'s second wife and once she gains the rights, the rest is history in The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post.  She  came up with the idea to buy Birdseye Frozen Foods, as well as other food companies like Jell-o, and call her "new" company General Foods.  These acquisitions makes her company even more successful.  I also appreciated her philanthropic spirit.  She was always helping America out with the war, building hospitals, soup kitchens, fundraising, and so much more.  I respected her so much for that.  Even at the end of her life, she wanted to donate Mar-a-Lago to the government as a Winter White House.  If only she could see what it's being used for now. 

Marjorie also lived an interesting life when it came to her opportunities through marriage. One of her husband's was the ambassador to the Soviet Union, so this proved to be very interesting. Living in the Soviet Union was difficult, but Marjorie wanted to do her part for America.  While there, she came across some amazing Russian antiques and paintings for sale that she was able to purchase they ended up being on display in her Washington D.C. mansion.  She had to deal with traveling from the Soviet Union and the threat of u-boats, war breaking out, and so much more upheaval at the start of World War II.  Lastly, Marjorie was quite a host and her parties were well-known. She entertained royalty, presidents, and so many influential people.   I couldn't believe she built Mar-a-Lago. How did I not know this? One would think her life was all rainbows and sunshine, but her love life was a disaster.

She married many times and I don't want to give anything away, but each marriage was worse than the one before in The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post. I would have given up years ago, but I think Marjorie was a romantic at heart and also she maybe had trust issues from how her father handled himself, not to mention many men were intimidated by show much she was worth. It just goes to show you, you really can't have it all; however, she did get three beautiful daughters out of her marriages.

I found Marjorie's life to be so very entertaining in The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post. I loved learning more about this new-to-me woman and I couldn't believe more people don't talk about her life and her contributions.  If you love books about strong women, I encourage you to pick up The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post

So, are you a fan of Allison Pataki? Have you read The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post? Is it on your TBR list?  Let me know in the comments below. 


  1. I didn't realize at first the connection with the Post cereal brand. Marjorie sounds like an amazing person, and definitely one I wouldn't have known about if I hadn't heard of this book. Great review - I'm really looking forward to this one!

    1. I look forward to your thoughts on it! It was definitely eye-opening! Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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