By Marie Benedict
Rich Writing and a Riveting Story
1947: Dr. Rosalind Franklin is a brilliant young scientist who holds herself to the highest standards in the scientific community. She has just moved from London to Paris to accept a position continuing her previous research on the atomic structure of coal using X-ray crystallography. Her parents are not pleased with her decision to move away from their home in London and continually pressure her to return to the family business of philanthropy. Rosalind loves Paris, her work environment, her colleagues, and her research.
1951: After a devastating broken heart, Rosalind does move back to London to work at Kings College Biophysics Research Unit, where she is surprised to be assigned the study of the structure of cell DNA. It’s a far cry from her previous expertise on nonliving structures but capitalizes on her knowledge and skills as an X-ray crystallographer. She is also told she is expected to be the first to map the structure of DNA and unlock the exact location of genetic material. The competition to be the first was ferocious, and Rosalind needed to stay on guard to ensure no one stole her research while at the same time fighting vehemently against women stereotypes.
Author Marie Benedict significantly and keenly writes about women of the past who have contributed much to society but received little or no recognition for their accomplishments. Dr. Rosalind Franklin is a perfect candidate for Benedict’s pen. Many books have been published about Rosalind’s research, some crediting her with the discovery while others crediting the men who used her research. The story is riveting, and the writing is rich.
HER HIDDEN GENIUS is both a dramatic and an enlightening book of a woman of courage and determination. Benedict’s detailed research and her fictional presentation helps us imagine the struggles Rosalind faced and appreciate her not only as a researcher but also as a daughter, sister, friend, and colleague. Readers will love the challenge of learning about x-ray diffraction and the study of DNA.
Other notable women that Benedict has written about include Mitza Maric (THE OTHER EINSTEIN), Clara Kelly (CARNEGIE’s MAID), Hedy Lamar (THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM) and Bella De Costa Greene (THE PERSONAL LIBRARIAN)
Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher Sourcebooks Landmark
Published January 25, 2022