The Engineer’s Wife by Tracey Enerson Wood
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, I’m making it a point to read literature that shines a light on women who persevered. When I saw, The Engineer’s Wife, I knew I had to read it right away. Emily Warren Roebling’s story is remarkable. I knew just bits and pieces of her involvement with the Brooklyn Bridge. She persevered despite many obstacles. I found the bridge building information interesting. It was a realistic retelling of all the joys and tragedies involved in the project. The discussion around women’s suffrage and other women’s issues was eye opening. The hindrances 19th century women had to face are mind-boggling. The author introduces us to a female inventor who had to use a man’s name just to get attention for her product. Emily’s decision to switch to Bloomers instead of corsets and full length gowns is another example of her innovative behavior. After the bridge’s completion, the author mentions Emily’s desire to attend law school. A goal she accomplished later in life.
While most of the book is true to the historical record, I wasn’t comfortable with the liberties the author took with Emily’s relationship with P.T. Barnum. In her notes, the author explains that this part of the story was based on reasonable speculation. With this plot line, I would have appreciated more authenticity and less fabrication. Barnum is such a colorful character with flair and wit.
The story moved at a good pace for me. I also appreciated the related plot lines such as her brother’s Civil War experience, Caisson disease and how best to minimize the effects, other bridge projects, and the tragic consequences caused by an unscrupulous contractor who used an inferior product for greater profits.
I would recommend this book with enthusiasm to fans of historical fiction. I received a complimentary copy of the ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The release for this book is April 7, 2020. #TheEngineer’sWife #NetGalley