Sunday, November 29, 2020

Review: Atomic Love by Jennie Fields

by Jennie Fields
Release Date: August 18th 2020
2020 G.P. Putnam's Sons
Softcover Edition; 368 Pages
ISBN: 978-0593085332
ASIN: B082H2V31P
Genre: Fiction / Historical Fiction
Source: Review copy from publisher
2 / 5 Stars
Chicago, 1950. Rosalind Porter has always defied expectations--in her work as a physicist on the Manhattan Project and in her passionate love affair with colleague Thomas Weaver. Five years after the end of both, her guilt over the bomb and her heartbreak over Weaver are intertwined. She desperately misses her work in the lab, yet has almost resigned herself to a more conventional life.

Then Weaver gets back in touch--and so does the FBI. Special Agent Charlie Szydlo wants Roz to spy on Weaver, whom the FBI suspects of passing nuclear secrets to Russia. Roz helped to develop these secrets and knows better than anyone the devastating power such knowledge holds. But can she spy on a man she still loves, despite her better instincts? At the same time, something about Charlie draws her in. He's a former prisoner of war haunted by his past, just as her past haunts her.

As Rosalind's feelings for each man deepen, so too does the danger she finds herself in. She will have to choose: the man who taught her how to love . . . or the man her love might save?
**** Spoiler Alert. ****
My Thoughts
Atomic Love just did not do it for me.  One of the primary reasons for this is that I was given this book to review with the understanding it was a spy novel, but it turned out to be more of a romance novel, and a ridiculous one at that.  Would it have mattered if I had known it was a romance novel from the first? Yes, as you go in with a different mindset.  I was waiting for this big secret and something more, but all I got was this woman who was asked to spy on her ex, expecting her to do whatever it took to find out what he was up to, including sleep with him if necessary.  Oh, there was a lot of talk about Rosalind not having to do anything she was not comfortable doing, but she was still under the gun to do it anyway. 
I would have liked Rosalind if the author hadn't spend so much time talking about her 'creamy white skin' and the fact she didn't comprehend how beautiful she was. GAG!  So repetitive.  Plus, she pretty much spent the entire book going over which guy she thought would be better for her, the one who ditched her and ruined her career, or the FBI agent with the mangled hand who everyone supposedly has a problem with because of his disability. (I will get to that little problem soon, trust me.)   She is supposed to be this brilliant scientist who worked on the Manhattan Project, but I never once saw that in the way her character was written.  She was described mostly as a woman who needed to be rescued and kept from the horrible things in life by those around her.  I was definitely not impressed.

Now to the FBI Agent Charlie.  We are in the early fifties, just after the end of the WWII. And the author goes on and on about Charlie's disability and how much of crutch it is in his job.  Wow! How many men had disabilities from the war?  I really feel like someone needed to do a bit more research. As someone with a history background, this rankled. A LOT.  And the scenes where Rosalind learns about his history as a war prisoner? That was horrible, yes, but the scene afterwards made me laugh out loud, I couldn't help it.  Read it for yourself.

I will admit it took me awhile to finish this book; I think I read two others while reading this one, and for the life of me I don't know why I kept reading it.  The ending was brutal though, as if the author suddenly realized Rosalind needed to be seen as this strong, independent woman who made her own decisions.  I didn't dislike the ending, but it was so contrary to everything else in the book, it just didn't work.  If Rosalind had been like that throughout the book, I would have liked her a lot more.  
Atomic Love definitely had a lot of promise, but it just didn't work for me.  There are some nice historical moments, such as the descriptions of being a prisoner of war and rare mentions of the Manhattan Project, but that's as far as it goes.  However, the book was very inconsistent, including the character development.  The whole 'damsel in distress' is a huge turnoff and overall, the book was somewhat boring. I'm sorry to say this is one I don't really recommend.  




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