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The Atomic Weight of Love: A Novel Hardcover – May 3, 2016

4.4 out of 5 stars 327 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of May 2016: The Atomic Weight of Love sounded like a quiet book to me, but the process of transformation from caterpillar to butterfly is a quiet thing, too, and that’s what this story reminds me of. It’s a fascinating account of Meridian Wallace, a science-minded woman who falls in love with a brilliant man working on big things—in this case, the atomic bomb. She puts her dreams on hold in service to his, sure that it’s only temporary and in these years meets other women who have done the same. Suddenly, it seems as if she has just faded into the background of her own life. Then the catalyst--a young man, both hippie and Vietnam veteran, who introduces her to many things, freedoms born of the era, and there is indecision. Ultimately Meridian reclaims herself, takes her identities over all those years and patches them together into a new and meaningful life. Woven throughout are interesting facts about human-like bird behavior and historical anecdotes, so while Meridian’s story--a reflection of the changing role of women between the 1940’s and 1970’s--is the centerpiece, there are many other treasures along the way. --Seira Wilson

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“A tightly crafted novel.” —The New York Times Book Review
  
“Church's absorbing debut novel shows the loneliness and pain that exists for the woman behind the famous man . . . We see it all through the prism of Meridian Wallace Whetstone, a woman ahead of her time.” —Bookreporter.com
  
“Inspiring, empowering, and heartbreaking in turn.” —The Roanoke Times

“Church’s debut will likely strike a chord, especially with women who find that not much has changed in our patriarchal society since Meri’s time, and that Meri’s story might well be their own.” Booklist

“Church's debut novel explores the relationship between sacrifice and love . . . Each sentence drives the plot further, exploring love's limits and its spoils. But it's Church's exploration of Meridian's role in her relationships that is the most gracefully executed feat of the novel. Meridian's voice is poignant, a mixture of poetry and observation . . . An elegant glimpse into the evolution of love and womanhood.” Kirkus Reviews

“Church hits the mark in this emotionally driven debut that spans the chapters of a long life . . . What does love require of us? How does one strike a balance between compromise and self‑fulfillment? In her debut novel, Church writes to these issues in a style that is thoughtful and elegant.” Library Journal

“Oh, what an incandescent debut! Church follows one extraordinary woman, who is brave to enough to challenge the times, take defiant wing, and chart her own extraordinary flight path. So engrossing, I couldn’t wait to read another page, and so alive, I never wanted the story to end.” —Caroline Leavitt, author of Is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You

“This exquisite debut is the beautifully written story of a woman who must negotiate the tricky terrain of love, responsibility, ambition and sacrifice. In her impeccable portrayal of a long marriage, Elizabeth Church weaves together the historical and the personal and shows the impossible choices women faced--and still face--between family and self.” —Tara Conklin, author of The House Girl

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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
327 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on May 19, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on May 25, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on December 1, 2016
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Top international reviews

LizzieB
5.0 out of 5 stars Girl Power??
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 23, 2019
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Mandy E. Woodall
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 22, 2018
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Homechecker.co.nz
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 24, 2017
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Snapdragon
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, wonderful
Reviewed in Australia on March 8, 2018
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Isaac Morgulis
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in Canada on March 23, 2017
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Lesley70
2.0 out of 5 stars Not For Me
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 13, 2019
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Anthemusa Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisitely beautiful writing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 30, 2019
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Sunshine 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written book.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 22, 2019
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Janie U
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful combination of science, history and fiction
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 17, 2018
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D. Elliott
4.0 out of 5 stars Society Suppressions
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 14, 2018
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S. A. Broadhurst
5.0 out of 5 stars The front cover is beautiful and it holds a similar story within
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 4, 2018
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San Diego surfer
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, well-written debut novel of how a woman's ambition is thwarted by society
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 5, 2016
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bookworm8
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 7, 2018
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Elizabeth Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and well written, I loved the crows but missing something
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 22, 2016
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Brett H
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing Novel But Slow In Parts
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 30, 2016
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