Some time ago I reviewed The Other Einstein and I had a lot of mixed feelings about it but I definitely liked the story and how I learned something I didn’n know about. I participate in a blog tour of this book,
this is going a bit late but anyway, and I think this might be a good opportunity to get introduced to the book.
A vivid and mesmerizing novel about the extraordinary woman who married and worked with one of the greatest scientists in history.
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.
A literary historical in the tradition of The Paris Wife and Mrs. Poe, The Other Einstein reveals a complicated partnership that is as fascinating as it is troubling.
Since I was a young girl, I have always been intrigued by the larger mysteries of the past and the hidden voices in history. So, when I read the Scholastic children’s biography Who Was Albert Einstein? with my young son and I learned that Albert’s first wife has been a physicist too, I became intrigued with this woman, Mileva Maric, who was a scientist when very few women even attended university. I dug into the research about her — surprisingly limited given her famous husband — and ultimately relied on the wonderful letters between Albert and Mileva spanning the years 1893 to 1903 when they were university students and first married. In those letters, I discovered a brilliant, emotionally naive young woman who adored puzzling out scientific riddles with her beloved boyfriend and then husband, to whom she spoke the language of science.
Using a mix of logic, research and fiction, I attempted to write the narrative of Mileva’s crucial years — a time period in which she attended university, dealt with personal tragedy, and finally, married Albert — and answer some of the many questions about her life. How did Mileva thrive in the male-dominated scientific world of nineteenth-century Europe? What role did she play in Albert’s work? Was their marriage a scientific partnership as she had hoped? What happened to their illegitimate child? What can we learn from Mileva’s life to assist us today?
As I filled in those gaps in Mileva’s tale, there were times I wished I could fashion a different ending to Mileva’s life story, a narrative heavy on loss but not without a modicum of joy, and occasionally, I paused writing for that reason, particularly because I had no desire to diminish the contributions made by her husband, a scientific icon. But, I determined to adhere to her life as closely as possible, given the limitations of research, the gaps in our knowledge, and the restrictions of the fictional tale. Because, even though THE OTHER EINSTEIN is fiction, the power of Mileva’s story rests in her astonishing rise from the remote regions of the Austro-Hungarian empire into the higher physics classrooms of European universities and her tragic descent once her scientific ambitions were derailed after societal and personal loss. It is from this poignancy in her historical tale that we derive modern meaning.
About the author:
Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than ten years’ experience as a litigator at two of the country’s premier law firms. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Boston College with a focus in History and Art History, and a cum laude graduate of the Boston University School of Law. While practicing as a lawyer, Marie dreamed of a fantastical job unearthing the hidden historical stories of women — and finally found it when she tried her hand at writing. She embarked on a new, narratively connected series of historical novels with THE OTHER EINSTEIN, which tells the tale of Albert Einstein’s first wife, a physicist herself, and the role she might have played in his theories. Writing as Heather Terrell, Marie also published the historical novels The Chrysalis, The Map Thief, and Brigid of Kildare.