A Bend in the Stars

A Bend in the Stars

by Rachel Barenbaum


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A bestselling, riveting literary delight for fans of All the Light We Cannot See and The Nightingale: an historical novel that is at once an epic love story and a heart-pounding journey across WWI-era Russia, following an ambitious young doctor and her scientist brother in a race against Einstein to solve one of the greatest mysteries of the universe.

In Russia, in the summer of 1914, as war with Germany looms and the Czar's army tightens its grip on the local Jewish community, Miri Abramov and her brilliant physicist brother, Vanya, are facing an impossible decision. Since their parents drowned fleeing to America, Miri and Vanya have been raised by their babushka, a famous matchmaker who has taught them to protect themselves at all costs: to fight, to kill if necessary, and always to have an escape plan. But now, with fierce, headstrong Miri on the verge of becoming one of Russia's only female surgeons, and Vanya hoping to solve the final puzzles of Einstein's elusive theory of relativity, can they bear to leave the homeland that has given them so much?

Before they have time to make their choice, war is declared and Vanya goes missing, along with Miri's fiancé. Miri braves the firing squad to go looking for them both. As the eclipse that will change history darkens skies across Russia, not only the safety of Miri's own family but the future of science itself hangs in the balance.

Grounded in real history — and inspired by the solar eclipse of 1914 — A Bend in the Stars offers a heartstopping account of modern science's greatest race amidst the chaos of World War I, and a love story as epic as the railways crossing Russia.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538746264
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 05/14/2019
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 33,827
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Rachel Barenbaum's debut novel is A Bend In The Stars. It has been named a New York Times Summer Reading Selection and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection. It is also a Boston Globe Bestseller. Rachel's second novel, The History of Time Travel, is forthcoming from Grand Central (2021).

Rachel is a prolific writer and reviewer for the LA Review of Books and DeadDarlings. She is a graduate of GrubStreet's "Novel Incubator." In a former life she was a hedge fund manager and a spin instructor. She has degrees from Harvard in Business, and Literature and Philosophy. She lives in Hanover, NH with her husband, three children, and dog named Zishe—after the folk hero who inspires many tales around their dinner table.

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A Bend in the Stars 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
LibMom More than 1 year ago
When the book description indicates Russia, Jews, and World War I, I'm sold. However, A Bend in the Stars has so much more to the story. While set in Russia just before and during the early part of World War I and happening to have main characters who are Russian Jews, A Bend in the Stars centers on the eclipse that occurred in Russia on August 21, 1914 and a race to come up with the mathematical equation to prove the Theory of Relativity. This race to be in the right place at the right time and to obtain the photographs thought to be needed to prove the theory is hampered by the obstacles the main characters experience due to their religion and the war. Roadblock after roadblock stands in their way to achieving their goals. In addition to the scientific race, there is also a romance thrown in as well. A Bend in the Stars is the first novel by Rachel Barenbaum. Barenbaum does an excellent job of vividly portraying the setting and hardships experienced by the characters. The characters, particularly Miri, are well-developed and likeable. There are also numerous twists and turns to keep the reader guessing throughout the book. I look forward to further novels by this author. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received A Bend in the Stars via NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
MichelleKenneth 10 months ago
What a great story! With so many WWII historical fiction stories, it is hard to find ones on WWI, especially a story that takes place in Russia right at the start of WWI. There are so many books focusing on Europe that it is nice to have a change of scenery so that we can better understand life in a different land. More importantly, it is interesting to see what the Jewish life was like in Russia during this time. One of the thoughts I kept thinking as I read this book: why are Jews treated so horribly? I don't understand why they are persecuted and have been for centuries. Even before Jesus was born, they were persecuted. But why? That is something I will never understand. They are human beings. The more stories like "A Bend in the Stars" there are, they better all of us can understand their struggle. I think what amazed me the most about this book was how Vanya was trying to fix Einstein's math for his theory of relativity. Forget that there was a woman surgeon...someone was trying to solve Einstein's math and risked his life for the proof. I grew up thinking that Einstein was a genius. It is not something that is challenged. I did not know that someone else had to come up with the math for his theory of relativity. I think that was the part that made my mouth drop. I also liked that they kept trying to push science before superstitions and folklore to prove why things happen. Science is what fixes the issue. We still see issues with proving science over superstitions and beliefs to this day. There were a lot of elements that Rachel Barenbaum tackles in this book that not only educated me, but provided entertainment along the way. I could not put the book down. I also enjoyed the love story in this and how people can come together through love and hope. Excellent read.
SardisYS More than 1 year ago
A Bend in the Stars by Rachel Barenbaum is so well research and beautifully written. You are transported back to WWI Russia. The emotional portrayal of the Jewish plight is detailed to break your heart and then give you strength.
blonde_betty More than 1 year ago
Very interesting and well written story which I enjoyed immensely. The characters are detailed and vivid. Rachel Barenbaum does a good job of describing the emotions of the beginning of the war and the terror faced by the Jewish people in Russia.