Author(s): Elizabeth J. Church
A luminous and enthralling story of birds and science, ambition and sacrifice, revolutions - both big and small - and the late blooming of an unforgettable woman. In 1941, spirited and adventurous Meridian Wallace begins her ornithology studies at the University of Chicago. The last thing she expects is to fall in love with a man two decades older: her brilliant physics professor, Alden Whetstone - or for him to be recruited to Los Alamos, New Mexico, to take part in a mysterious wartime project. Meridian agrees to give Alden a year of her life, deferring her own ambitions for the sake of her husband's. But hers is a world, and a time, in which a wife cannot be a scientist and a woman cannot choose her own destiny. As the decades pass, Meridian strives to resist the clipping of her wings, torn between who she is and who circumstances demand her to be. It is a struggle that will make her enemies and lead to heartache, but which also offers the possibility of freedom, friendship and transformation...
'A striking story of a woman forced to choose between the future she desires or the path society insists she take' Harper's Bazaar 'An elegant glimpse into the evolution of love and womanhood' Kirkus 'Church's debut will likely strike a chord, especially with women who find that not much has changed in our patriarchal society since Meri's time, and that Meri's story might well be their own' Booklist 'A tightly crafted novel' New York Times Book Review 'A fast pace and a light tone keep this charming debut gliding along' Sunday Times
Elizabeth J. Church was born in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Her father, a research chemist, was drafted out of Carnegie Mellon University, where he was pursuing his graduate studies, and was sent to join other scientists working in secret on the Manhattan Project. Church's mother, a biologist, eventually joined her husband in Los Alamos. While The Atomic Weight of Love is not their story, it is the story of many of the women who sacrificed their careers so that their husbands could pursue unique opportunities in scientific research. Church practiced law for over thirty years, focusing on mental health and constitutional law issues. She has written extensively for legal publications and scientific journals. This is her first novel.