Did Marjorie Merriweather’s post inspire The Great Gatsby?

“In historical fiction, the most bizarre, outrageous, bizarre moments are always drawn directly from history,” says Alison Pataky, “because history gives you raw material that you can’t make up.”

Surely she will know. Pataki’s new novel, The Brilliant Life of Marjorie Post, is her sixth historical novel, and it’s full of weirder-than-fiction moments. The book traces its protagonist from her youth in Battle Creek, Michigan, where her ailing father was the famous nursing home of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg patient — to her life as one of the richest women in the world, thanks in large part to her own business acumen, thanks to her father for founding what would become General Foods. Pataki’s story doesn’t ignore Post’s dazzling adventures — big money, big houses, and big jewels at nearly every turn — but to show Post’s private side and make her more than just a Heirs are exhausting.

The life of Marjorie Merriweather Post, seen in Scotland in 1937, inspired a new must-read novel by Allison Pataki.

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For Patakhi, that means combining the novelist’s storytelling skills with the historian’s eye for detail. “I am very grateful to all the historians and archivists who curated and contributed to this material,” she said. “I got the fun part of telling stories with those ingredients. What’s especially interesting about Marjorie as a subject compared to some of the other female characters I’ve written about who’ve been dead for 300 years is that Marjorie Merriwether Newspapers are recent history. Her last home, Hillwood, is still a museum you can walk into. That’s exactly how she lived in it. Even the dining table was set the way she set it up for dinner parties arranged.”

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But Post isn’t just any historical giant. In her own time, she was more important than life—“She didn’t follow trends, she led them,” Pataki points out. “In the Roaring Twenties, there were rumors that she and her second husband, EF Hutton, might have been one of the inspirations behind F. Scott Fitzgerald the great gatsby“—her experiences still shape the world we live in today. In the 1930s, when her then-husband Joseph Davies was ambassador, she lived in Moscow and developed a world that still influences international relations today. Relationships. And, of course, she built the Palm Beach mansion where Donald Trump now lives as her own private getaway in 1927. Even her family business remains a behemoth, reportedly earning in 2021 $3.14 billion.

Alison Pataki

Alison Pataky, Author The Brilliant Life of Marjorie Postwrote nine books, including novels on historical figures such as Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary.

Tricia McCormack

story wonderful Life The love of Post’s life, from her close relationship with her father to the four men she later married. “It’s unbelievable that in her lifetime, she went through these four marriages, each dramatic and tragic in its own way,” Pataki explained. “It’s a big part of the story, it humanizes her and shows that you can have everything in the world, but everyone’s heart is broken. For me, seeing these four marriages and their disintegration , the real love story that runs through the book is that she had to come to terms with falling in love with her voice identity.”

The Magnificent Life of Marjorie Post: A Novel
The Magnificent Life of Marjorie Post: A Novel

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Not only does the book find that Post is satisfied with herself, but it also means that Pataky must develop a relationship with her subject in order to sustain her work over the years. “You have to get obsessed; it’s been six years of my life during which I’ve been living and breathing the Marjorie Merriweather Post,” she said. “I don’t know I’ve ever written on a subject that I love and admire like the Marjorie Merriweather Post. She’s modern, but times have changed a lot since she was alive. So, seeing Marjorie as a The way a leader looks, even with all the social currents against her as a woman, you can’t help but think, if she were alive right now, we would all want to vote her for president.”

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