Inspired by Leona Woods, the only woman who worked on the Manhattan Project, Atomic Love (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2020) tells the story of Rosalind Porter, a physicist recruited by Enrico Fermi to join his team at the University of Chicago. During the war, Rosalind had fallen in love with Weaver, a fellow scientist working on the project. After the bombs are dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he suddenly drops her, and she’s fired from the project based on a false report claiming that she’d become unstable. Now she works at the antique jewelry counter in Marshall Fields’ Department Store and struggles to pay her Michigan Avenue rent. It’s 1950, five years after the war ends, and suddenly Weaver is trying to get back in her life. He broke her heart, and probably got her fired, so she never wants to see him again. But the FBI gives her a chance to make it up to all those who died because of her work on the atomic bomb. All she needs to do is go back to Weaver.
Jennie Fields received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is the author of the novels Lily Beach, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, The Middle Ages, and The Age of Desire. A Chicago native who loved Marshall Fields and used to live in the same neighborhood as her protagonist, Fields was inspired by her own mother’s work as a University of Chicago-trained biochemist in the 1950s. Fields now lives with her husband in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is working on her next novel.