The Physicist’s Daughter is among several outstanding books I’ve read in the last couple of years. Maybe it’s a theme with me, though, women of science that had to emerge from the past. It starts my A2Z Challenge offering for the letter P, which ends with a quick look at a number of books beginning with P by the same author. 😉

The plan for the month is to feature daily a book I’ve reviewed in the past (or review it that day), and also highlight others: not all are included each day.

  • review/featured
  • spacetime challenge (I host this reading challenge – you can join here)
  • middle grade (childrens) choice
  • series (love a good series – there’s a challenge for finishing those, too)
  • ‘notable’ reads
  • ‘outstanding’ books
  • my books!

Featured Book: The Physicist’s Daughter by Mary Anna Evans

Physicist's Daughter

The Physicist’s Daughter came out last year, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Like Lessons in Chemistry (see L) it features a woman who is unable to pursue her interest in science, because nice girls don’t do that. But the war comes, and it turns out that nice girls can now work in dirty machine shops making bombs for the war effort. And if their fathers taught them how to weld, they can get on in life.

The exciting thing about his book is the spy element. Someone is wrecking the assembly line. Someone wants to know what goes on in the top secret part of the factory. And that someone may be apparent to our physicist’s daughter. The plot is cleverly presented, and more mystery introduced by the eccentric aunt who appears to know far more about physics than she’s ever let on before. And then there’s the question of who might be working for the Nazis, and who just for him or herself. Layers of mystery and excellent atmosphere.

a truly interesting, intelligent, historical mystery with a touch of romance

from my review (June 22)

Spacetime Challenge

project hail mary

Honestly, Project Hail Mary deserved to be book of the year, featured book and everything else. There’s just such a lot of competition on my blog from excellent books – and beginning with P, too! What makes it so good is not that an astronaut is sent out on what is expected to be a one-way mission to save the earth. I mean, that’s a given. It’s the way he does it. And the way the book starts with him waking up without any idea of what’s going on. And when he gets it all together, he finds the most exquisitely crafted alien waiting to talk to him, on the same mission, effectively. Andy Weir aced this. It deserves an Oscar, or whatever the equivalent might be. Some people don’t like it because they didn’t like the Martian. As I’m a fan of deep alien culture world-building, I adored it.

Books like this make me feel inadequate as an author. But I feel so good there are authors out there who write like this. And I’m going to have to buy my own copy to reread.

Frpom my Review (April 22)

Middle Grade Choice

Obviously, a Pony for Quarantine was written during lockdown. Full marks to Clare O’Beara for realising that kids needed stories that reflected what was going on and publishing them in the summer of the first year. Frankly, it helped me, too. And she followed on with a Dog for Lockdown, which despite not being about ponies, I thought was a book with wider appeal. In the Pony book, a girl has to argue her case to the local police (the Garda, as we’re in Ireland) that she has to cycle to look after her pony even during quarantine restrictions. Thankfully his stable is about one metre inside the permitted distance limit. It becomes a story when she turns this into more than just going to see her pony: several of them end up having zoom chats about their ponies, and the problems, and that ends up in a show jumping contest, over zoom!

A Dog for Lockdown starts when the elderly neighbour goes into hospital. The boy is terrified the old man has caught covid and going to die and then what will happen to his dog? It’s a very real problem. I reckon one of my guinea pigs was stuck in just such a situation as the dog (before I got him, obviously).

Anyway, kudos to Clare O’Beara for prompt publication. Most traditionally published authors were bringing their covid related books out at least a year later.

Series choice

The Princelings of the East is a ten-book series following the adventures of Fred and George (the princelings of the east), and other events in the Realms, which is where they live. Five of the titles start with ‘princelings’.

They were originally written as a trilogy, and so the same characters appear in the first three books, introducing some (especially Princess Kira in Pirates) and losing others, but wrapping up in a satisfactory ending. Then the baddie in the first book wanted to set the record straight so that was book 4… then Victor, the sidekick, needed his adventure, and Humphrey who had a cameo in Book 3, well, I wanted to know what happened to him, and I found out before I’d finished Victor’s book. Then a character in Humphrey’s book demanded his story be told, Willoughby the Narrator, no less. Which led us up north to princelings Dylan and Dougall, who had already appeared in a set of stories for younger readers.

By this time I knew where things were going to end. But there was a lot of ground to cover to get the reader there. Why would things change so much that revolution would break out? So there’s a sort of anecdotal catch-up book at 9, then the finale, which really is what George has been working toward all this time, since to solve the problem in the first book, he promised to do something that involved an advanced flying machine, by a due date – July 2022. I finished in time. I just forgot to celebrate that date on the blog last year like I’d intended to! You can read more about the series on my Books pages, or the Princelings website.

Notable Books

Nearly 1300 editions of Pride and Prejudice on Goodreads, but I couldn’t find the cover of mine. This will do. It is a sad thing that over 500 of those editions have been brought out in the last five years. I suppose the film brought it to more people than the BBC series. But nothing beats Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, as far as I’m concerned.

I wouldnt call myself a Jane Austen fan, although I have read several of her books, certainly the most popular ones. I went to her house (not far from me now), last September–I found it charming, and curiously satisfying. It was particularly interesting to see the view from her writing table: out onto the village street, a view of the crossroads, so you could see everything going on. Yes, I bet Lydia would have loved it.

Pride and Prejudice is of its time. But the relationships are timeless. Long may that continue.

And I’m just squeezing in another title, as Cheryl Mahoney launched a new first in series two weeks ago

The Princess Behind Thorns by Cheryl Mahoney

From the end of the blurb:

This fantasy romance, the first in a series, brings a new angle to the story of Sleeping Beauty by starting where most versions end. If you enjoy heroines finding their strength, fantasy worlds with a touch of intrigue, and slightly magical cats, you won’t want to miss the Thorns Saga.

My own books

Perihelix 2ed scifi series

If it wasn’t enough to have five Princelings for the letter P, I also have a Perihelix! Is this some sort of connectivity in my brain to my surname?

The Perihelix is my first science fiction book, and always conceived as a trilogy, although I didn’t know what adventures the protagonists were going to get up to later. I am never happy with my first book in a series, it seems. With this one I was right, and took it off the market for a year or two to revise it. Now it’s tighter, more focused, and gets going quickly.

I am still not as confident of its reception as I am with Curved Space to Corsair or Zanzibar’s Rings, but it’s probably a slightly more traditional scifi story than those two. Two asteroid miners go off into space as a result of a warning, taking their women with them. The miners are kidnapped, leaving the women to work out how to fly the spaceship. Then one of the miners is kidnapped by the other power in the galaxy, and so a triangle emerges. I like it, and I hope you do. Read more background information as well as snippets on the Viridian System series website.

That’s all for today, so come back tomorrow for more. I’m hoping to meet more people who like the same kinds of book, so feel free to recommend something you’ve read beginning with the letter of the day!

The Physicist’s Daughter | #A2ZChallenge23

11 thoughts on “The Physicist’s Daughter | #A2ZChallenge23

  • 19 April, 2023 at 8:27 am

    Andy Weir is a fantastic author, no doubt. And so are you. Great choices for P.
    I’m loving the April Blogging from #AtoZChallenge 2023.
    Proof of Existence, book two in my dark urban fantasy series, is out this month. I hope you’ll check it out.
    And please don’t miss the amazing giveaway on my blog. Act fast and enter now!

    J Lenni Dorner (he/him 👨🏽 or 🧑🏽 they/them) ~ Reference& Speculative Fiction Author, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, and Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge

  • 19 April, 2023 at 12:47 pm

    Oh dear, more good books to add to my list. And you do so much reading! Thanks for the recommendations!

    • 19 April, 2023 at 1:16 pm

      I aim for one a week, Noelle. But I’m way ahead of that this year – partly because of this A2Z 🙂

  • 19 April, 2023 at 1:32 pm

    That’s a lot of P books! I also thought Project Hail Mary was fantastic, and you know I love your books (still not sure if I’m more in love with Pete or Lars 😁).

    • 19 April, 2023 at 6:34 pm

      You are allowed to love both of them! I’m toying with the idea of writing their early years…

  • 19 April, 2023 at 2:09 pm

    They all sound interesting. I am really intrigued by “Project Hail Mary” and the help that turns up. A Martian, I think you said?
    Seeing the view from a writer’s desk, love it.

    • 19 April, 2023 at 6:32 pm

      Help turns up, but not from a Martian! The authors first hit was called The Martian 😀

    • 20 April, 2023 at 9:12 pm

      Emma irritates me 🙂 But I can see the attraction. Thank you for enjoying the Perihelix… (she says, hoping you’re going to read the other two, which I like more!)

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