by Bettie: Mercury Pictures Presents is a wild ride through 1930’s and 1940’s Hollywood and Italy. I was privileged to read an advance copy through Net Gallery, and it was a fun read for someone who enjoys historical fiction. I learned a lot about that era of which thought I had a fair understanding. Marra packs a lot of information in his rapid fire descriptions of life at that time. The characters are quirky, not without their faults, but draw our sympathy and empathy. He highlights issues, such as discrimination and fake news, that may have been swept under the rug at the time, but are topical today. The story is largely about an ambitious young Italian-American woman, who immigrated to the US as a young girl with her mother when her father had fallen into political disfavor. They make their way to Los Angeles, where our heroine grows up and becomes a talented, though under-recognized, movie producer with a small film company that lands some big contracts from the War Department for propaganda movies. We see her dealing with issues at work, at home and with her memories of her father in Italy, all while history marches on. A witty and entertaining book.