Book Talks: Longbourn and The Girls of Atomic City

 Longbourn by Jo Baker

LongbournThe Bennett family home of Longbourn in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, is once more brought vividly to life in Jo Baker’s latest novel.

But instead of focusing on the romance of Elizabeth and Darcy, Baker brings readers into the lives of those residing belowstairs—the servants who work and reside at the Bennett’s home.

Protagonist Sarah is an orphaned housemaid, who spends her days tending to the needs of the household. When a mysterious new footman by the name of James Smith is hired on, Sarah thinks James is harbouring a secret and becomes set on unearthing it, potentially causing the orderly realm of the servants’ hall to become irreversibly altered.  

An essential read for any devoted Austen fan, Longbourn by Jo Baker provides readers with a new look into the romances and daily lives of Regency England, and is available to reserve in print, e-book, and large print formats from the Haliburton County Public Library.  

The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan

Atomic CityIn its heyday, Oak Ridge, Tennessee had a population of 75,000 people, used more electricity than the city of New York, but did not appear on a single map. Thousands, mainly women from small towns in the southern United States, were recruited to work in the secret city with promises of steady employment, good wages and, with the horror of Pearl Harbor still fresh in their minds, work that would help end World War Two. They worked in factories, inspected pipes for leaks, checked meters, crunched numbers, but none knew the true nature of what their work was contributing to. Only after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan were the secrets of Oak Ridge revealed.

The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of The Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan follows the lives of the women who worked at the Clinton Engineering Works at Oak Ridge, Tennessee during the height of the Manhattan Project. Oak Ridge was one of the main sites dedicated to the enrichment of uranium for the atomic bomb, yet no one who worked there knew the purpose of their work. Living in makeshift modular homes and walking muddy streets, the people were never allowed to discuss the nature of their work – not even to each other. They had no idea the ramifications of what they were doing, nor how the world would change forever once the Project was complete.

 The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of The Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan is available from the Haliburton County Public Library.

*originally aired on 100.9 Canoe FM from December 2nd-30th 2013

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