A "mesmerizing" re-imagination of the final months of World War II (Kate Quinn, author of The Alice Network), Hannah's War is an unforgettable love story about an exceptional woman and the dangerous power of her greatest discovery.
Berlin, 1938. Groundbreaking physicist Dr. Hannah Weiss is on the verge of the greatest discovery of the 20th century: splitting the atom. She understands that the energy released by her discovery can power entire cities or destroy them. Hannah believes the weapon's creation will secure an end to future wars, but as a Jewish woman living under the harsh rule of the Third Reich, her research is belittled, overlooked, and eventually stolen by her German colleagues. Faced with an impossible choice, Hannah must decide what she is willing to sacrifice in pursuit of science's greatest achievement.
New Mexico, 1945. Returning wounded and battered from the liberation of Paris, Major Jack Delaney arrives in the New Mexican desert with a mission: to catch a spy. Someone in the top-secret nuclear lab at Los Alamos has been leaking encoded equations to Hitler's scientists. Chief among Jack's suspects is the brilliant and mysterious Hannah Weiss, an exiled physicist lending her talent to J. Robert Oppenheimer's mission. All signs point to Hannah as the traitor, but over three days of interrogation that separate her lies from the truth, Jack will realize they have more in common than either one bargained for.
Hannah's War is a thrilling wartime story of loyalty, truth, and the unforeseeable fallout of a single choice.
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.
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Perfect “Quarantine” Read
If you need something to read during this time of isolation, I highly recommend Hannah's War, a first novel by Jan Eliasberg. It’s a beautifully written romantic spy thriller set at Los Alamos during the building of the atomic bomb. The story is elegantly simple, and it's a real page turner.. The characters (including historical figures Groves and Oppenheimer) jump off the page. But it's mainly Hannah herself that captivates: a brilliant, conflicted heroine well worth spending a few days with. Check it out.