FICTION

Atomic Love

Putnam. Aug. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9780593085332. $26. F
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It’s been five years since Rosalind Porter worked as a physicist on the Manhattan Project. She once dreamed of bringing safe nuclear energy to the world, but the horror of the bomb’s devastation on Japan and a betrayal by her lover and fellow physicist Thomas Weaver still feels raw. Besides, there are few jobs for women scientists in 1950s Chicago. Now working at a jewelry counter in Marshall Field’s department store, she is approached by FBI agent Charlie Szydlow, who wants her to feign interest in getting back together with and spying on Tom, whom he suspects is selling nuclear secrets to the Russians. Tom is oddly eager to have Rosalind back in his life, and she’s still strongly attracted to him, despite her growing feelings for intelligent and sensitive Charlie. The story alternates between Rosalind’s complicated love triangle with the two attractive men, and Charlie’s intense flashbacks to his days as a Japanese prisoner of war and ongoing post-traumatic stress disorder.
VERDICT Fields’s (The Age of Desire) immersive love story is thoroughly engaging. Fans of Beatriz Williams or Paula McLean will take great pleasure in the rich historical detail, suspenseful intrigue, and the emotionally charged romance.

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