Jennie Fields’ spy thriller romance surprised me with how beautifully it’s written. It’s more than a historical fiction, it’s a drama with grit and emotion.
The Plot in a Nutshell
It’s 1950 and Rosalind (Roz) is still haunted by her part in the Manhattan Project, as a scientist who helped to develop the bombs dropped on Japan at the end of the war. Also damaged by the betrayal of her lover, Weaver, she now works in a jewellery store and her happiness comes largely from seeing her niece, Ava.
Charlie is an FBI agent who was a POW in Japan during the war, he lost use of one hand in the camp. Charlie approaches Roz to ask if she will spy on her former lover, Weaver, who may be passing secrets to the Soviets.
Charlie’s request opens up Roz to a big conflict, she was hurt by Weaver, but ultimately still loves him. And what about her connection with science? Is that lost forever too? Then there’s the tall, mysterious, FBI agent who interests her.
Atomic Love has gotten mixed reviews. Some have said that the story and dialogue are “cheesy”, but I totally disagree.
Firstly, I love that it’s told from two different perspectives: Roz and Charlie. Both are damaged by the war, emotionally, physically (in Charlie’s case) and psychologically. They have both been hurt by their lovers – Weaver left Roz for another woman and Charlie’s girlfriend left him after he returned from the war totally changed. Weaver’s reappearance in Roz’s life prompts Charlie to seek her out and they are now both tangled in his potential spying for the soviets.
I also really like Roz as the heroine, it’s nice to have a female voice that is honest about both her anger at the scientific world and at herself for falling for a man like Weaver. Protagonists are best when they’re flawed.
Personally, Charlie’s back story was my favourite part. His time in the POW camp in Japan is written wonderfully, full of fear, and resignation. I’m really glad Fields included his story.
I also liked Roz’s relationship with her family, her relationship with her Niece Ava is sweet and gives her a layer of love – to show that she is not only capable of it, but full of it.
In terms of the history. America in the 1950s isn’t my strong point, but WW2 certainly is, and I think this is why Charlie’s story really interested me.
One thing I really don’t like is the title! Which I’ve seen in other reviews also. I think it draws away from the crux of the story: war wounds in more ways than one. Something simple like ‘The Scientist’ might have worked better for me. But it’s a classic case of not judging a book!
Give Atomic Love a go if you like historical fiction, spy thrillers and romance with a twist.