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Publisher's Summary

For fans of All the Light We Cannot See and The Women in the Castle comes a riveting literary novel that is at once an epic love story and a heart-pounding journey across WWI-era Russia, about 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 amid the chaos of World War I and a love story as epic as the railways crossing Russia.

©2019 Rachel Barenbaum (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"A Bend in the Stars is a vivid and wrenching debut, full not only with the darkness of history but also with hope - a literary saga for fans of The Invisible Bridge and All the Light We Cannot See. Love and war and Relativity weave together seamlessly, and we're left understanding that there's more than one way for the universe to bend." (Rebecca Makkai, author of the National Book Award Finalist The Great Believers)

"Rachel Barenbaum's A Bend in the Stars is a beautiful thrill ride steeped in the history of Czarist Russia, from its poverty-ridden shtetls to its roaring trains, and the awesome lure of science. This is a book of history rewritten, dreams realized, and justice served - a book about relativity, war, hatred, and the weight of our assumptions and our great loves." (Michelle Hoover, author of The Quickening)

"With the timelessness of a folk tale, the twists and turns of an adventure story, and the pleasures of a science thriller, A Bend in the Stars both fills the reader's heart and keeps it beating fast. This novel's strong gravitational pull draws you powerfully alongside Miri and Vanya in their harrowing quests, and its emotional payoff makes you never want to let them go." (Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men)

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What listeners say about A Bend in the Stars

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Story better than narration

The over acting voice of female narrator takes forbearance on part of listener. And the disclaimer of this being a work of fiction, maybe, belongs in the beginning of the story? Suspenseful and action packed tale that pulled me in after the frat hour of persistence. Then I cared about the fate of the characters. Impressive first book by this author.

3 people found this helpful

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Definitely NOT another "All the Light We Cannot Se

Maybe the book was written entirely with exclamation points as that is how the narrators performed it - though whispering & breathlessly. The story had an interesting premise & context but never paid off. The writing? Well....

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderful historic fiction, compelling narration

Loved the characters, the plot and emotion which built this story. Highly recommended read across every demographic.

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great book.

best I've read this year. highly recommend if you love historical fiction. 5+ stars! you won't be disappointed.

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Not so good

The plot is ok, not great, but the narration...ugh! Maybe I’m being too tough on the narrator and she is just interpreting the text as written, but I have less than an hour left and am struggling to finish. The incessant wailing is about to make my head explode!

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Religious persecution and struggles of old Russia

This is a family's story. Written by a grand daughter about one family's struggle for greatness and getting out of a crumbling country. It looks at the old russian corruption and how the people lived within these circumstances. Great love story from beginning to end. Filled with life events that pull at the heart strings. Well written and I would by another book by this author.

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Time to produce a movie.. couldn't stop listening!

Wonderful uniquely written story! Narration was stupendous. I fell in love with so many characters. The descriptions were so vivid, yet not wordy. Rachel has written her first so well, I'm hoping she'll continue to publish. [Side note: I'm a 48 year old Catholic Philadelphian]

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Slow start, slow finish, middle was good

Meh. The first few hours of listening was rather formulaic - seemed designed to build interest of a certain type of reader which did not match me. I kept listening, the middle portion was better - the end was sort of dissapointiing.

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Action packed, but a bit hysterical

I think I woukd have liked this better in print. The reading of Miri really made her seem hyper-sensitive and thus unbelievable as a skilled surgeon.

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not great

It's probably a great book, but if I am not feeling attracted in the first few chapters, I'm gonna stop a book. All I can say is it didn't work for me. Too complicated, and felt like feigned intelectualism instead of real, common, relatable themes with my type of wisdom and humor (ala J.R. Tolkein, JK Rowling).