Hannah’s War

Jan Eliasberg. Back Bay, $16.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-53744-5
Eliasberg’s fast-paced, insightful debut explores one woman’s anxiety about helping to create the world’s first nuclear weapon. Dr. Hannah Weiss, a Jew who escaped Nazi Germany, works with the Americans on the atom bomb in 1945 Los Alamos, N.Mex., where, thanks to her exceptional talent and stable personality, she fends off men’s flirtations and chauvinistic assumptions. Hannah is alternately excited by the work and sobered by its implications, feeling a “frisson of energy and enormity up and down her arms and neck” while testing a reactor. Meanwhile, Hannah’s colleagues circulate a petition about their concerns over the dangerous weapon, causing military intelligence to open an investigation into possible subversives on the team. The lead investigator, Maj. Jack Delaney, wants to know whether Hannah is actually spying for a Nazi physicist, but Jack’s attraction to Hannah’s “starchy self-determination” distracts him from the interrogation process as Hannah gains the upper hand, and suspicions, second-guessing, and simmering desire ensue between them. Clever phrasing and keenly developed characters add substance to the intrigue. Eliasberg’s triumphant tale of Hannah transcending anti-Semitism and the pitfalls of workplace romance will satisfy readers. Agent: Adriann Zurhellen, Foundry Literary + Media, LLC. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/09/2020
Release date: 03/03/2020
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-3148-6
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