The Physicists’ Daughter by Mary Anna Evans
This book has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of months now. The premise described everything I love in a historical mystery and I was saving it for just the right moment. A strong female lead, unlikely detective, WWII setting, sabotage, espionage… what’s not to love?
First of all, the setting for this book was fantastic. The factory work gave me all the Bomb Girls and Rosie the Riveter vibes and I adored that. It was the perfect place for espionage on the home front and I thought the plot was entertaining.
The character of Justine was also a lot of fun. She’s incredibly clever and delightfully skilled as a welder — thanks to her physicist parents. I love stories with unlikely detectives and she definitely fit that description! However, some of the technical descriptions regarding her work felt belabored. They didn’t always make sense to me and the length and detail didn’t seem to fit the otherwise “cozy mystery” style of read. These scenes slowed the story down and I ended up skimming paragraphs.
I also struggled with the writing style of this book. Obviously, this is personal preference, but some of the descriptions and sentences made it difficult for me to become fully immersed in the story.
While this was an entertaining read with an empowering character and plenty of plot twists, there were also a few points that missed the mark — so I’m leaving this one with 3.5 stars. Still, the ending left open the possibility to a sequel and I would certainly follow up with Justine’s character if that was the case!
Readers looking for a cozy mystery with an historical setting.
This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. ARC provided courtesy of the publisher, Sourcebooks. All opinions expressed are my own.
About the book:
(From the publisher) 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 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.