Excerpt from The Atomic City Girls

Did you have a great Thanksgiving? I hope you enjoyed time with your family and relaxing, thinking of the things you are grateful for. And if you stopped by here, you might have picked up a free copy of Her Work Was Everything and some other great freebies that were available for the weekend.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme. Read the rules and more teasers at The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along.

I have just started reading The Atomic City Girls, by Janet Beard. In searching it up on Amazon just now, and realized that there is also a book called The Girls of Atomic City, on the same subject, so be aware if you are looking it up that there are two very similar books out there. The Atomic City Girls is billed as a novel and The Girls of Atomic City as a true story.

Both are billed as being in the tradition of Hidden Figures, which I love. I’m not sure yet that The Atomic City Girls will rise to that level, but we’ll see where it goes! So far I am just meeting the main characters, who are obviously destined to meet and get involved.

“You are now a resident of Oak Ridge,” it read, “situated within a restricted military area… What you do here, what you see here, what you hear here, let is stay here.”

Janet Beard, The Atomic City Girls

In November 1944, eighteen-year-old June Walker boards an unmarked bus, destined for a city that doesn’t officially exist. Oak Ridge, Tennessee has sprung up in a matter of months—a town of trailers and segregated houses, 24-hour cafeterias, and constant security checks. There, June joins hundreds of other young girls operating massive machines whose purpose is never explained. They know they are helping to win the war, but must ask no questions and reveal nothing to outsiders.

The girls spend their evenings socializing and flirting with soldiers, scientists, and workmen at dances and movies, bowling alleys and canteens. June longs to know more about their top-secret assignment and begins an affair with Sam Cantor, the young Jewish physicist from New York who oversees the lab where she works and understands the end goal only too well, while her beautiful roommate Cici is on her own mission: to find a wealthy husband and escape her sharecropper roots. Across town, African-American construction worker Joe Brewer knows nothing of the government’s plans, only that his new job pays enough to make it worth leaving his family behind, at least for now. But a breach in security will intertwine his fate with June’s search for answers.

When the bombing of Hiroshima brings the truth about Oak Ridge into devastating focus, June must confront her ideals about loyalty, patriotism, and war itself.

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