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Her Hidden Genius: Book summary and reviews of Her Hidden Genius by Marie Benedict

Her Hidden Genius

A Novel

by Marie Benedict

Her Hidden Genius by Marie Benedict X
Her Hidden Genius by Marie Benedict
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About this book

Book Summary

Marie Benedict's powerful new novel shines a light on a woman who sacrificed her life to discover the nature of our very DNA, a woman whose world-changing contributions were hidden by the men around her but whose relentless drive advanced our understanding of humankind.

Rosalind Franklin has always been an outsider―brilliant, but different. Whether working at the laboratory she adored in Paris or toiling at a university in London, she feels closest to the science, those unchanging laws of physics and chemistry that guide her experiments. When she is assigned to work on DNA, she believes she can unearth its secrets.

Rosalind knows if she just takes one more X-ray picture―one more after thousands―she can unlock the building blocks of life. Never again will she have to listen to her colleagues complain about her, especially Maurice Wilkins who'd rather conspire about genetics with James Watson and Francis Crick than work alongside her.

Then it finally happens―the double helix structure of DNA reveals itself to her with perfect clarity. But what unfolds next, Rosalind could have never predicted.

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Before reading Her Hidden Genius, had you heard of Rosalind Franklin? What, if anything, did you know about the history of DNA, and how did the book affect your understanding of that history?
  2. Compare Rosalind's experiences in France to her experiences in England. What was the biggest difference you noticed between each culture's expectations for scientists and women?
  3. Rosalind asserts early on that marriage and science are not meant to coexist for working women. Do you think that idea is a product of her time period, or her personality? Does she reevaluate it throughout the book, and if so, how?
  4. How does Rosalind's Jewish identity shape her behavior and priorities throughout the book? How are she and her family still contending with the events ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Benedict adeptly brings forward another accomplished, intriguing, and unjustly overlooked or oversimplified real-life woman in a welcoming and involving historical novel." - Booklist

"Dr. Rosalind Franklin, whose pivotal role in the discovery of DNA was overlooked, gets her due in Benedict's scholarly novel." - Kirkus Reviews

"Marie Benedict has a remarkable talent for forcing open the cracks of history to draw extraordinary women into the sunlight. In Her Hidden Genius, Benedict weaves together molecular biology and human psychology to bring vivid life to Rosalind Franklin, whose discovery of DNA's exquisite double-helix structure takes on the narrative intensity of a thriller. Fans of historical fiction will devour this complex portrait of a brilliant and trailblazing genius and the price she paid to advance the frontiers of science." ― Beatriz Williams, New York Times bestselling author of Our Woman in Moscow

"Marie Benedict does it again, pulling another brilliant woman out of the shadows of history into an illuminating portrait for posterity. This eye-opening novel deftly explores the life of Rosalind Franklin--the wronged heroine of world-changing discoveries--and her singular pursuit of science. Educational and astounding. Brava!" - Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of America's First Daughter

"What an important book this is. Through Marie Benedict's trademark insight and immersive historical research, Rosalind Franklin and her extraordinary legacy are beautifully restored to public recognition. So brilliantly sketched is this brilliant woman that you will find yourself both infuriated by the misogynistic battles she faces and inspired by the intellectual achievements she manages to secure regardless. A must-read for anyone interested in science or forgotten heroines." - Kate Moore, New York Times bestselling author of The Radium Girls and The Woman They Could Not Silence

"Impeccably researched and beautifully written, Her Hidden Genius is a remarkable story of strength, perseverance, and achievement. Marie Benedict once again shines a light on women in science, vibrantly bringing Rosalind Franklin's genius to life in the pages of her novel." - Jillian Cantor, USA Today bestselling author of Half Life

"Marie Benedict has given us an immense gift: a peek into the inner world of Rosalind Franklin, one of the most brilliant--and overlooked--scientists of her time. Her Hidden Genius describes the discovery of DNA in exquisite beauty, weaving the structure of the double helix effortlessly into a poignant and compelling narrative. This is Benedict's best work yet, a book that will break your heart, rattle your expectations, and ultimately leave you stunned by the sacrifices one woman made for science." - Nathalia Holt, New York Times bestselling author of Rise of the Rocket Girls

This information about Her Hidden Genius shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Marie Benedict Author Biography

Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than ten years' experience as a litigator at two of the country's premier law firms and for Fortune 500 companies. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Boston College with a focus in history and art history and a cum laude graduate of the Boston University School of Law. Writing as Heather Terrell, Marie published the historical novels The Chrysalis, The Map Thief, and Brigid of Kildare; and under her own name, a narratively connected series of historical novels starting with The Other Einstein, which tells the tale of Albert Einstein's first wife, a physicist herself, and the role she might have played in his theories. Benedict lives in Pittsburgh with her family.

Author Interview
Link to Marie Benedict's Website

Other books by Marie Benedict at BookBrowse
  • The Personal Librarian jacket
  • The Mystery of Mrs. Christie jacket
  • Lady Clementine jacket
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