Image of The Atomic City Girls: A Novel


Image of The Atomic City Girls: A Novel

Interest in books and films about women in various science fields is on the rise and Beard takes full advantage of our curiosity by opening the door into the secret world of the men and women working on the atomic bombs during WWII. Following the lives of several young women, scientists and African American construction workers, she builds an intriguing novel that is accessible and easy to read with enough suspense and romance to hold any reader’s interest. While the focus of the story is on a young and curious woman’s adventure, the history Beard unearthed, especially concerning the African Americans working on the periphery of the project, presents a fascinating glimpse into the war.

In 1944, June Walker is recruited for a secret project in a town that officially doesn’t exist — Oak Ridge, Tennessee — and is officially sent there. June quickly learns that she can never speak of the work she is doing, and she can only tell her family and friends that she’s aiding the war effort. While June’s social life outside of the laboratories and offices grows, so does her curiosity about the underlying reason for all the secrecy. Then she meets physicist Sam Cantor and begins to use their relationship to lead her to the answers she needs. Meanwhile, June’s roommate is hunting for a husband, and on the other side of the base, Joe Brewer hopes his construction job will lead to a better life. June and Joe would never have met, but a security breach thrusts them into a search for answers as the bombing of Hiroshima reveals the truth behind their work. (WILLIAM MORROW, Feb., 384 pp., $15.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin