[477]: The Blonde by Anna Godbersen

the blonde

GOODREADS SUMMARY | Weinstein Books | Hardcover, pp. 390
Publication Date: May 13th, 32014 | Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I’ve always held a fascination with Marilyn Monroe’s bright and short-lived life. When I saw this book at the bookstore, I just know that I had to get it. I must admit that I was equal parts skeptical and thrilled. Skeptical on how convincing of a spy she’d be, and thrilled with the prospect of whatever conspiracy theories I would be taking away from this novel.

Little Girl Lost.

When she was a girl on the cusp of adulthood, her father, a travelling salesman,  left one morning and didn’t come back. She’d been looking for him ever since. With every man that comes into her life, she creates a perception of what her father might be like.

A Woman Made-up.

When she was a struggling actress trying to make it in Hollywood, a Soviet agent decided she’d make the perfect spy: with her blond tresses, a voice of childlike innocence, and the hourglass figure, no one would know the better. They created this sexual persona that very few men could dare resist. Norma Jean shed her skin, and Marilyn Monroe was born.

A Man on the Scope.

John F. Kennedy was a senator whose star was on the rise. When the KGB set their sights on him, Marilyn was tasked to infiltrate the life of a notoriously known womanizer with a brilliant political future.  Jack, because of despite his staunch Catholic upbringing, was unable to resist the sensational actress. An affair ensued.

This is not Marilyn Monroe.

We only know of Marilyn’s legendary life through what we’ve been told, heard, seen, and read in the years following her death. We know of the failed marriages, the alleged affairs, and her apparent suicide. Among the number of males linked with her name is one John Fitzgerald Kennedy. A man whose family name is synanymous  to royalty in America. This is a fictional account of a different Marilyn Monroe, her illicit love affair with the president, and her role – directly and indirectly – in his assassination.

It is everything you’ve come to expect from a novel whose main character exudes her legendary sexual allure: erotic, exciting, and a visceral depiction of a life lived in the grasp of a powerful organization.

Godbersen perfectly captured the voice of a vulnerable woman in desperate search of a familial love. She was an easy prey to a man who knew her weakness, and knew how to manipulate it to work in his advantage. However, he grievously miscalculated the passion and loyalty of a person in love.

We see an intelligent, cunning, and a strong woman  who hid behind the quivering lips, the cloud of silken white hair, and the soft voice meant to enrapture the male audience. Marilyn Monroe behind the public eye, was a different creature altogether.  It was difficult to see the demarkation line between fact and the myth; the fiction and the legend; the truth and the imagined.

We also see a different JFK. He is portrayed as a man weak with desire, but whose drive is powered by his political aspirations.  I’ve always been curious about the iconic, Happy Birthday songso I was ecstatic to read the bathroom romp that followed thereafter.

This book perfectly exemplifies Marilyn’s relevance after all these years. Our never-ending curiosity about her fabled life will always spark someone’s creativity to satiate an itch more than seven years in the making. Anna Godbersen allowed her readers to see Marilyn in a different light, while remaining true to the icon that we’ve all come to know.



  • Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

    Wow! this sounds like an interesting twist to the MM stories we all know. Fab review!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

  • Hahahah I was confused because I thought it was nonfiction, and I was like “Assassination??? WUT??” But then I read on and it makes more sense now. But that’s an interesting take (fiction) on Marilyn’s life and JFK. I’m glad you liked it Joy!

    • Great read if you’re a conspiracy theory enthusiast!

  • I’ve always been interested in Marilyn Monroe, too. As a pre-teen and teen, her posters plastered my walls and I loved everything about her persona. This sounds very interesting. I may have to check it out…sometime. Great review!

  • Sounds like an interesting novel that breathes new life into the Marilyn and JFK deaths. I had Anna Godberson sounded familiar, and just realised that she wrote The Luxe series which I’ve enjoyed. Great review Joy!

  • I didn’t know Anna Godbersen wrote this! I’m so happy you liked this depiction of Marilyn Monroe, as I have always been interested in her as well. I love that it shows another side of her.

  • Awesome review Joy. <3 I'm glad you enjoyed this book 😀 That spine is gorgeous. <3 Sigh. Not for me, as I don't really know anything about Marilyn Monroe at all, hiih (A) but maybe one day. <3 I'm happy you were interested in it 😀 Thank you for sharing about this book sweetie. <3

    • Ha. Definitely not a “Carina Read”. 😉

  • Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    I’ve always been intrigued by Marilyn Monroe–this book does sound pretty interesting! I’m glad that this one worked for you, this author sounds brilliant for whipping up such a creative novel.

    Lovely review, Joy! <33

    • I think a lot of us have been curious about her life. And yes, I was pleasantly surprise how Marilyn being a spy is not such an over-reaching concept.

  • Ever since I saw that you’re reading this, I’ve been looking forward to reading your review about it. Oh boy, now that you loved it, I’m excited to read this now. Definitely buying the hardcover too! ;D

  • Isn’t this author the one that wrote the Rebels (or something) historical series? I remember relatively liking the characters in that one but did not like the writing. It felt off to me 😛

    • The Luxe series, apparently. I haven’t read them. 🙂

  • Okay Joy, this is the second book this week that you’ve made me want to read IMMEDIATELY. This is not okay. Please stop writing awesome reviews,

    Marianne a.k.a. the girl with little self control and a one-click addiction.

    • Lol. I hope you’ll enjoy it. I don’t want to fail you. >.<

  • Oh Joy, this book sounds joyous! I love the sound of this novel! MM as a spy? I am ALL ears. Although considering I know practically next to nothing about JFK or MM, I feel like I wouldn’t be able to appreciate this novel as much!

    I am so glad to see you enjoyed this, Joy! 🙂

    Fantastic review!!

    • Thanks, Rashika. I don’t know much about their history as well, but I like the implication of a relationship between them. 🙂

  • Wow, this novel sounds brilliant! I’ve always been curious about MM’s life, and especially the life of JFK and how the two of them became involved. I wasn’t a fan of Anna’s Luxe series, but I think I will definitely give this book a go – they’re so different! So glad you enjoyed it Joy, it sounds like a brilliant reimagining!

    • I’ve never been interested in her Luxe series, but I was definitely curious about this book. I’m glad it worked out for the best, though. And like you, I have a ravenous curiosity about their alleged relationship.

  • I’m so glad Godbersen didn’t disappoint! When you posted about this a few weeks ago I thought this one is a bust. I do love her Luxe series and I’m starting BYT, I should add this to the list too. I love her writing style and how can I resist Marilyn Monroe even if it’s fiction?!

    • I’ll have to see what you think of her Luxe series. THAT type of Historical novels give me the hives. Lol.

  • I’ve always been fascinated by Marilyn Monroe’s life, and I love reading anything about her. The KGB angle isn’t one I’ve seen before, so I definitely should check this out. Great review!

  • When you mentioned you were reading this Joy, I couldn’t wait for you to review it. I’m fascinated with the Marlyn Monroe persona. That seemingly a sexed up bombshell could have brought a president to his knees and been inadvertently at the center of the shitstorm that surrounded his death. Even fictional, I’d love to believe there was more to her than just a pretty buxom blonde.

    The happy birthday song was so iconic, but just reminds me of Mr. Burns popping out of the birthday cake on the Simpsons 😀

    Incredible review. Bloody hell Joy, you cost me a fortune in books 😀 <3

    • Hahahah! Whoops. Apparently, it’s $1.99 on Kindle right now. But I’m not sure whether the price applies Internationally.

  • I love that this showed a whole new side to her. This sounds like it was a fun, interesting read and kudos to the author for making it that!

    Happy Friday, I hope you have a great weekend!

    • Enlightening, definitely, because it shows a possibility that no one would dare assume.

      I hope you’re enjoying your weekend as well, Ali. 🙂

  • Marilyn Monroe’s life has always spurred endless curiosity in me. Good on Anna Godbersen for not only succeeding in doing her larger-than-life personality justice while also delivering a whole other side of her character. Happy Friday, Joy, I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

    • I liked this version of Marilyn. She’s not just a typical sex pot out to ensnare unsuspecting men. I mean, she does that, too, but that’s not the only thing about her.

      I hope you’re enjoying your Saturday!

  • This sounds awesome! I have read Godbersen’s Luxe series and absolutely loved it, so I am excited to check this out. I am pretty much obsessed with the Kennedys, so I am intrigued by Godbersen’s take on JFK and Marilyn. Thanks for this great review!

    • The only thing I didn’t like about it, is the way she made Jackie O seemed like a total caricature of the real one. But I really hope you’ll enjoy this as much as I did. 🙂

  • Wauw, this sounds so good! I’m gonna look it up on Goodreads now.

    – Love, Felicia

  • This looks amazing! I love alternate history style books, and became pretty fascinated with the MM story and also the JFK story after it was released that he was “accidentally” assassinated by the FBI and not by the alleged killer – did you SEE that documentary?! It was earth shattering. R x

    • Nooooo! I must look it up! I’ve learned my share of conspiracy theories about MM and JFK, but this one is definitely new to me.

      • I think it was called JFK: The Smoking Gun. I think that was the documentary I watched… I’d need to see a clip to be sure, but it forensically broke down all of the evidence. It claimed the shooting was accidental, by the Secret Service agent riding in the back of the car, but that it was covered up and goes into detail on how.

  • Oh I want this one! I have always been fascinated by Marilyn Monroe and her life. 🙂

    • I enjoyed this one. I hope you will too. 🙂

  • I’ve always been intrigued by her. I have seen a lot of movies and listen the songs and all but I confess that I haven’t tried any books. I should try!

    • Exactly my point about MM. A lot of us is infinitely curious about her life.

  • KGB, hey I could buy that

  • Christy

    Fictional … or so They want us to believe. Kidding. 😉 I’m actually really curious about it now.