The Engineer's Wife
THE USA TODAY BESTSELLER!
THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER!
She built the Brooklyn Bridge, so why don't you know her name?
Emily Roebling built a monument for all time. Then she was lost in its shadow. Discover the fascinating woman who helped design and construct the Brooklyn Bridge. Perfect for book clubs and fans of Marie Benedict.
Emily refuses to live conventionally—she knows who she is and what she wants, and she's determined to make change. But then her husband asks the unthinkable: give up her dreams to make his possible.
Emily's fight for women's suffrage is put on hold, and her life transformed when her husband Washington Roebling, the Chief Engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge, is injured on the job. Untrained for the task, but under his guidance, she assumes his role, despite stern resistance and overwhelming obstacles. But as the project takes shape under Emily's direction, she wonders whose legacy she is building—hers, or her husband's. As the monument rises, Emily's marriage, principles, and identity threaten to collapse. When the bridge finally stands finished, will she recognize the woman who built it?
Based on the true story of an American icon, The Engineer's Wife delivers an emotional portrait of a woman transformed by a project of unfathomable scale, which takes her into the bowels of the East River, suffragette riots, the halls of Manhattan's elite, and the heady, freewheeling temptations of P.T. Barnum. The biography of a husband and wife determined to build something that lasts—even at the risk of losing each other.
"Historical fiction at its finest."—Andrea Bobotis, author of The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt
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The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict
The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris
Spanning 1864 1884, Wood's impeccably researched debut narrates the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge from the viewpoint of a woman central to its creation. Twenty-year-old Emily Warren meets civil engineer Washington "Wash" Roebling in 1864, when he is 27. They marry in 1865 and have their only child in Germany while Wash researches pneumatic caissons, the watertight structures used in bridge foundations. Emily reluctantly sidelines her plans of working for women's suffrage in favor of studying her husband's engineering books as they help raise funds for the bridge's $7 million cost and set up house in Brooklyn. Decompression sickness from trips in and out of the caisson keeps Wash housebound for years, so Emily goes from being his "eyes and ears" at the site to handling public relations and technical problem solving, and taking a leadership role during the project's many crises. Wash provides little emotional support or companionship, and Emily develops an attraction to charismatic showman P.T. Barnum while still hoping for a sign of affection from her husband. Readers will appreciate the nuanced depiction of Emily's struggles to overcome male resistance and balance her own needs with her partner's. Wood's satisfying historical feels true to its era yet powerfully relevant to women's lives today.