Press and Praise

“The story is told by all of the women . . . together in unison as one haunting, communal voice. Impressive . . . . Lulled by the voice, we know that offstage the historic work is being done . . . . Together and alone and each in her separate way, the wives are left to celebrate or lament the wonder or the horror of what their town had done.” —New York Times Book Review

“TaraShea Nesbit’s debut novel breathes life into the domestic side of this story . . . Quietly revealing, The Wives of Los Alamos offers an unusual glimpse into a singular community where war, science, and home life collided.” Boston Globe

“By turns touching, confiding, and matter-of-fact—perfectly captures the commonalities of the hive mind while also emphasizing the little things that make each wife dissimilar from the pack . . . Engrossing, dense, and believable.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Astounding. . . . The reader feels immersed in a very real world . . . : who was alluring, who was gung-ho, who awed even their genius husbands. . . . Nesbit brings alive questions of war and power that dog us to this day.”—Booklist, starred review

“[A] lyrical, captivating historical debut . . . . Nesbit artfully accumulates the tiny facts of an important historical moment, creating an emotional tapestry of time and place.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“This well-researched and fast-paced novel gives a panoramic view of the lives of ordinary women whose husbands worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. Recommended both for its important subject matter and for the author’s vivid storytelling.” Library Journal

“TaraShea Nesbit has, in The Wives of Los Alamos, crafted an evocative, intelligent novel in the collective voice of the wives of the scientists.” —Columbus Dispatch

“This chronicle of the Manhattan Project’s secret wartime base in New Mexico unfurls as they lived it, distorted by necessary lies. Their strange existence as housewives, ‘calculators’ or lab technicians forms a vivid foreground to the building of the bombs that finished the Second World War, with Nesbit deftly capturing the claustrophobic surreality of it all.”Nature

“Nesbit empathises with the scientists’ wives and skilfully conveys their bleak predicament.” The Independent 

“Terrific…Nesbit shows the shifting of relationships, the ways various families are affected, and it’s mesmerizing.” The Times 

“[A] terrific first novel . . . . This is a sidelong glance at history that, thanks to its Greek Chorus, becomes rivetingly personal and urgent. After the atomic bomb was dropped, ‘we felt ashamed, we felt proud, we felt confused.’ Everyone’s truth is here, making the reality of what was done more human and more terrifying.” More

“[TaraShea Nesbit] writes with grace and mounting depth, creating nuance and shadows in a story that is both tenderhearted and no-nonsense…an immersive experience…an interesting and beautiful achievement.” —Santa Fe New Mexican

“A great story . . . . [Nesbit] evokes the women’s days in lyrical, hypnotic detail: the mountains’ stark beauty, the sand penetrating every corner of the jerry-built houses, the infectious pettiness of people stuck together in close quarters, the sudden bursts of patriotism.” People

“From race to social class to nationality, Nesbit’s narrative does examine the forces that divide women, including the wives of Los Alamos, but also shows those things that bind them — at least for this group. The women in Nesbit’s novel and the calm, reflective voice they embody will captivate readers from the first page to the last.”—Bustle

“It becomes easy to slip into the rhythms of Nesbit’s prose and imagine the dusty, sunbaked mesas of Los Alamos, where the wives — uprooted from their families, their mail censored, not really sure what their husbands were doing — managed to create a vibrant community of their own.” Entertainment Weekly

“A fascinating first novel that explores what it might have felt like to be strangers trapped together in a remote military town, keeping a nation’s most controversial secret.”—O Magazine

“A stunningly original and thought-provoking debut.” —BookPage

The Wives of Los Alamos is both thought provoking and creatively written, an essential insight into the American atomic bomb research project.”—Largehearted Boy

“A lyrical and realistic glimpse…Nesbit raises the bar for historical fiction.” —Atomic Heritage Foundation

“Nesbit has chosen to write a war story in which the heroes shift and become ciphers. The protectors are the wives’ brothers fighting abroad; they are the Tewa women who bake them prune pies, the husbands who marvel and wonder at their crushing creation. Above all, they are the women who have made Los Alamos their own. Nesbit said, ‘The war story is often a heroic story, and it’s important to give voice to the voiceless.’ With The Wives of Los Alamos, she delivers new expression in a staggering chapter of our nation’s history.” —Weekly Alibi

“Hypnotic and filled with elegiac details; Nesbit offers fascinating and disturbing insight into the secret life of the Los Alamos families.” —Madeline Miller, author of The Song of Achilles

“I am in awe of this novel. TaraShea Nesbit’s brave and brilliant choice of point of view for these women living inside their earth-shattering secret crucible brings home to us in the fullest way possible that our personal story is never just ours. The Wives of Los Alamos will be read and re-read and remembered.” —Gail Godwin, author of Flora

“In this fascinating and artful debut, TaraShea Nesbit gives voice to the women closest to one of gravest and most telling moments in our collective history: the development and testing of the nuclear bomb at Los Alamos. Tender and mundane details of marriage and domesticity quietly collide with the covert and solemn work at hand. With chilling implications and charged, sure-footed prose, this is a novel—and writer—of consequence.”—Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife