Tracy Enerson Wood offers us a rare look into the building of the Brooklyn Bridge in The Engineer’s Wife. The historical accuracy is unparalleled.
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- Title: The Engineer’s Wife
- Author: Tracey Enerson Wood
- Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Pages: 352
- Format: e-ARC
- Rating: 2/5
I would like to thank Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark Publishing for providing me with a free copy of The Engineer’s Wife in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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Synopsis of The Engineer’s Wife
“When Emily Warren Roebling marries Captain Washington ‘Wash’ Roebling-the handsome, charming soldier of her dreams, and her brother’s dear friend and aide during the Civil War-a lifetime of family fun and happiness seems within her grasp. But then Wash accepts the position as Chief Engineer on his father’s magnum opus, the Brooklyn Bridge, and it changes both of their lives forever. In Brooklyn, the happy home they’d dreamed of warps around the bridge.
Incapacitated from working in the high-pressure tanks at the bridge’s foundations, Wash convinces Emily to be his messenger to the site. Little by little, Emily finds herself taking over the project-with no formal training or education in math and science. Emily throws herself into building the bridge but faces suspicion and disparagement at every turn as she supervises dangerous construction sites and argues for the safety of the bridge amongst Manhattan’s male elite. The Engineer’s Wife delivers an emotional portrait of a woman transformed by a project of unfathomable scale, and of a husband and wife determined to build something that lasts–even at the risk of losing each other”Goodreads
Initially taken with the novel, I grew away from the story as the book went on. Emily and Wash’s meeting and courtship were fantastic and drew me in right away. Their personalities complemented each other well.
Unfortunately, after the war was over and they began their life in earnest, the book drifted from the interesting back and forth banter into something dull and dry.
As the bridge-building took over the story, all manner of worldbuilding ended. The novel becomes a guidebook of building a bridge instead of a well-rounded piece of fiction full of rich words and drama.
Emily’s relationship with PT Barnum never had the dramatic effect that I feel the author planned. Wash’s complacency with the relationship further revulsed me.
It is with a heavy heart that I award The Engineer’s Wife 2 stars out of 5. There was so much promise, but in the end, this novel didn’t work for me.