The Physicists’ Daughter by Mary Anna Evans
New Orleans, 1944.
Sabotage. That’s the word on factory worker Justine Byrne’s mind as she is repeatedly called to weld machine parts that keep failing with no clear cause. Could someone inside the secretive Carbon Division be deliberately undermining the factory’s Allied war efforts?
Raised by her late parents to think logically, she also can’t help wondering just what the oddly shaped carbon gadgets she assembles day after day have to do with the boats the factory builds. When a crane inexplicably crashes to the factory floor, leaving a woman dead, Justine can no longer ignore her nagging fear that German spies are at work within the building, trying to put the factory and its workers out of commission.
Unable to trust anyone—not the charming men vying for her attention, not her unpleasant boss, and not even the women who work beside her—Justine draws on the legacy of her unconventional upbringing to keep her division running and protect her coworkers, her country, and herself from a war that is suddenly very close to home.
Justine Byrne was taught welding, trained by her parents. She knew things that most Americans could only dream of. She was given a job at Higgins Industries Carbon Division. She and the people in the division were making parts designed by others that they had never seen assembled into anything. Justine’s parents had been killed because of the technology they helped develop.
Justine is young and lovely and two suitors are attempting to win her heart. One is a spy placed by Germany prior to WW II. The Higgins Plant was hidden in the bayous of southern Louisiana. There was an airfield next to the plant where the top-secret parts were made.
Supervisors at the plant were men with infirmities that kept them from being enlisted in the military. They were usually self-important oofs who lorded over everyone, particularly the women. They made life miserable for the better-looking girls.
Saboteurs were sent in by the Nazi’s to find out what was being made at the plant and also to slow or stop production. This was extremely unusual for a young lady during the war. Parts that were broken in the fabrication were quickly welded by her and production continued.
This tale of the valiant efforts by women hired in all war industries showed the ability of women to do jobs formerly only held by men. The women were being paid more than they had ever been paid before, the same wage as a man doing the same work. Six, ten to twelve-hour days, left them only Sundays to rest and prepare for the following week. The book is very well written and I could not put it down! 4.5 stars – CE Williams
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars
Genre: Historical World War II Fiction, World War II Historical Fiction, Historical Mysteries
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Print Length: 345 pages
Publication Date: June 7, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Physicists’ Daughter [Amazon]
The Author: I’m the author of the upcoming historical suspense novel THE PHYSICISTS’ DAUGHTER and the award-winning Faye Longchamp archaeological mysteries. My thriller, WOUNDED EARTH, is available in print, ebook, and audiobook editions.
I’m a university professor of writing, and I’m also a chemical engineer by training and license, with a degree in engineering physics thrown in for spice. This background came in handy while writing THE PHYSICISTS’ DAUGHTER, which features Justine Byrne, who works at a Rosie-the-Riveter-type job during World War II. I like to describe Justine like this: “The Nazis are no match for the physicists’ daughter.” As for the protagonist of my archaeological mysteries, I’d say, “Faye Longchamp digs up trouble.” If you like strong, smart, independent female protagonists, I think you might like Justine and Faye.
My other fiction includes several short stories, available separately as ebooks, and as a collection in both ebook and print form, called JEWEL BOX: SHORT WORKS BY MARY ANNA EVANS. YOUR NOVEL, DAY BY DAY: A FICTION WRITER’S COMPANION is available for novelists in both ebook and print form.
I am a co-editor with Dr. JC Bernthal of an upcoming book on the bestselling novelist of all time, the BLOOMSBURY HANDBOOK TO AGATHA CHRISTIE. It is very much a labor of love to the Queen of Mystery.
I enjoy reading, writing, teaching, gardening, spending time with my family, cooking, and playing my 7-and-a-half-foot-long monster of a grand piano. For more information on my work, visit http://www.maryannaevans.com.
©2022 – CE Williams – V Williams