What is it like to be: The Woman with Two Shadows

A Novel of WWII

by Sarah James

The Woman with Two Shadows offers a fascinating and involving look at the work that was done in Oak Ridge, Tennessee during WWII. Readers will find themselves quite involved with the history, the story and the characters.

Here we have twins who, while the same in many ways, want different things. What happens when one needs to assume the other’s identity?

Lillian strives for a prestigious math prize. The author says that she wants to go to Harvard which is a bit off, so a small criticism here. I think that, at that time, female students went to Radcliffe. Still, that should not spoil the story for readers.

Younger twin Eleanor wants to be an actress but this is not happening so she takes a job in Oak Ridge, TN, only to disappear. Ironically, Lillian who doesn’t want to act, takes on the biggest acting job imaginable when she has to pretend to be Eleanor. What has happened to Eleanor? How will Lillian manage her new life and what will she learn?

I recently read a book called The Physicists’ Daughter. It was different from this title but shares with it the work that led to the development of the bomb in WWII. Each of these novels offers a sense of history, engaging characters, twist and turns, and menace. They can be read as bookends.

Readers will be drawn into the story. Fans of historical fiction, take a look.

Many thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark for this title. All opinions are my own.

Pub Date 26 Jul 2022

Editorial Reviews


“Utterly fascinating and meticulously researched, The Woman with Two Shadows is a riveting tale about a town and its people that officially never existed and the secrecy behind one of the Manhattan Project’s top-secret cities responsible for creating the atom bomb used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. James’s debut is beautifully written and captivating!” ā€• Kim Michele Richardson, New York Times bestselling author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek and The Book Woman’s Daughter

“The Woman with Two Shadows is a twisting, atmospheric page-turner. Sarah James’s debut, which is set against a part of America’s World War II history long shrouded in secret, feels fresh and new, filled with complex characters and plenty of intrigue. You won’t be able to put this one down!” ā€• Julia Kelly, international bestselling author of The Last Dance of the Debutante

“Debut historical novelist James centers this mysterious tale on the true story of the Oak Ridge military site… Her expertly crafted plot, which alternates between Lillian and Eleanor’s backstory and their present, will leave readers wanting more of her expertly researched historical saga.” ā€• Booklist–This text refers to the paperback edition.

Author: joycesmysteryandfictionbookreviews

I love to read, recommend books and open the world of reading to others. I tutor to ensure that the next generation of readers will know the joys of a good book because their reading skills have improved. I am an avid reader, especially of mysteries and fiction. I believe that two of the world's greatest inventions were the public library and eyeglasses!

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