by Marie Benedict
Reviewed by SA
Finally, a book about Mileva Marić! I knew so little about her, though I have been dying to know more: what kind of woman could court, marry, love one of the greatest minds of our time? Who was the woman who stood by his side as he made some of the greatest discoveries of science, revolutionizing how we saw the world? But I should have been asking myself something entirely different: who was this Serbian woman who fought to get into university and learn physics, forging a path for women like me?
What secrets may have lurked in the shadows of Albert Einstein’s fame? His first wife, Mileva “Mitza” Marić, was more than the devoted mother of their three children—she was also a brilliant physicist in her own right, and her contributions to the special theory of relativity have been hotly debated for more than a century.
In 1896, the extraordinarily gifted Mileva is the only woman studying physics at an elite school in Zürich. There, she falls for charismatic fellow student Albert Einstein, who promises to treat her as an equal in both love and science. But as Albert’s fame grows, so too does Mileva’s worry that her light will be lost in her husband’s shadow forever.
Unfortunately, like “The Stargazer’s Sister” (Carrie Brown), this version of events is heavy fictionalized. While the key points of Mileva’s life are there, such as when she met went into university, when she met Albert, when they got married, etc, the author filled in the gap with historical fiction. Very good fiction, I have to say: It was fascinating to see Albert Einstein as a romantic figure, to consider what a relationship between two scientists would have been like at the turn of the century. I’m just disappointed that it’s not all true: I’m not exactly sure which parts are fact, and which parts are fiction. Oh well.
While sometimes I found the style of prose to drag a little bit, or the pacing to be a little slow, I was completely engrossed by Mileva’s character. Honestly, it’s perhaps more interesting to view this book as a novel about a woman scientist fighting to break society’s norms so she can study physics at the end of the 19th century, rather than the novel about ‘just’ Einstein’s wife. As a physics student myself, I fell in love with her. I can’t imagine not studying physics, and to think that if I had been born a hundred years earlier, I would have had to fight tooth and nail for my education? Mileva is a brilliant mind, a brilliant person, just wanting to learn.
The fictionalized account of their relationship is interesting and definitely worth a read. It gives a new perspective on the life of Albert Einstein, and introduces you to a brilliant woman. Well worth the read.
The publisher is kindly running an amazing giveaway! Want to win copies of this fantastic book? Follow this LINK to the rafflecopter!