The Physicists' Daughter
Perfect for fans of The Alice Network and Kate Quinn, The Physicists’ Daughter is "a fascinating and intelligent WWII home front story." —Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author of The Venice Sketchbook.
No one can be trusted. The fate of a country is at stake. And everything depends on the physicists' daughter.
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.
Evans (the Faye Longchamp Mysteries) underwhelms in this standalone historical. In 1944, Justine Byrne, the eponymous character whose physicist parents died in a car accident before Pearl Harbor, works a menial job manufacturing boats, ships, and airplanes in New Orleans for the war effort. Her contributions are mundane, but that changes after a crane collapses at work, crushing three fellow employees and killing one of them. Byrne begins to suspect the collapse was not an accident but industrial sabotage, part of a pattern she'd noticed involving rumors she'd heard about missing tools and other plant disruptions. Evans doesn't build any suspense over whether Justine's fears are justified, as sections told from the perspective of a spy code-named Mudcat sap any sense of excitement from Byrne's search for the truth, and the prose is often subpar ("The German language would always be there at the riverbed of his innermost self, where his subconscious mind would feed on it like a broad, silent mudcat"). Evans has done better.