Cover Image: The Woman with Two Shadows

The Woman with Two Shadows

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Member Reviews

This book is an intriguing historical fiction that takes place at Oak Ridge, Tennessee at at the secret government compound where research was being conducted to built a nuclear bomb in 1945.  It provides an interesting look at this place, since I knew little about it. In the novel, Lillian goes there to track down her twin sister who has disappeared.
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The Woman with Two Shadows has got me thinking about the creation of the nuclear bomb. Were the politics that extreme that certain people could get away with anything? Was the town of Oak Ridge, Tennessee really the way the author described it? Did people go missing? Did anyone have to answer to the conditions at Oak Ridge? If I hadn't read The Woman with Two Shadows; I don't think I would have known of the possibilities or wanted to learn more. This is my personal thank you to Sarah James for igniting the desire to know more in a world where we are only taught the highlights of history.

War with Germany has ended but work continues to create the atomic bomb. College students are being recruited to work in a secret location. Lillian, a physics student, passes on the offer, wants to further her education. When her twin sister goes missing at the secret location she has no choice but to go and try to find her.

Lillian's investigation has her discovering secrets that people want to remain secret. She discovers one person's importance trumps everything else. Coverups and conspiracies are hindering her attempts. Doubt clouds her judgement and had me questioning what I thought would be happening. I found myself thinking that I would put it down after I find out what happens next. Then it was another chapter, and then another because the plot thickened, the plot twisted and twisted again.

The author grabbed my attention. She kept me entertained. She created mind blowing situations that kept me thinking. I was invested in the story, and yet I still didn't expect the explosive ending.

Congratulations Sarah James on a fantastic debut novel. I look forward to reading more books in the future.

Please read The Woman with Two Shadows. Realize we should all continue to learn about the past.
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Absolutely one of my favorite books so far this year   The characters of Lillian and Eleanor and their stories were so well developed I felt like I knew them personally.  Historical fiction fans will live this novel   read that will be enjoyed by patrons,   The historical facts, couples with action and mystery will have you throughly invested. Read in one day non stop.

Highly recommend.

A huge thank you to NetGalley, the author, Sarah James, and the publisher, Sourcebooks Landmark, for granting me an advance copy in return for my honest opinion.
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The Woman with Two Shadows will slowly draw you into the mysterious disappearance of Lillian's twin sister Eleanor.

When Lillian receives that terrible phone call that Eleanor is missing she drops everything and hurries to Manhattan where Eleanor is working on a secret mysterious job.

Lillian is easily able to impersonate her twin so the hunt for Eleanor begins.

Who can Lillian trust.

The story picks up the pace , the tension mounts and that's all I can say without giving anything away.

The Woman with Two Shadows is a fantastic debut novel and I can't wait to see what Sarah James writes next.   

Thanks to Net Galley and Sourcebook Landmark for a intriguing read I wont soon forget.
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This is fiction, but it is based on a real place in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a highly secure, top secret, military facility during WWII.  When Eleanor, who is in college, hoping to win a prestigious award that will get her into Harvard, is made aware that her twin sister, Lilly (Lillian) has disappeared, she makes arrangements for their mother's care and heads to Tennessee to find Lilly.

While Eleanor's character is highly focused on winning the Allerton prize, she is not otherwise particularly likeable.  She is an introvert (takes one to know one!) and she'd much rather work alone than with anyone else, and is often rude to others in her classes.  When she arrives in Tennessee, she realizes she will have to deceive everyone in order to find out what happened with her sister.  This is where the plot kind of fell apart for me.  An introvert wouldn't be comfortable sliding into the role of an outgoing, vivacious party girl.  She wouldn't be able to successfully deceive all the necessary people, and really, was our nation's security that bad at a top secret facility that she could get away with it?  Let's hope not.

The book was well researched, fast moving, but it missed the mark for me.  I'm sure there are others who will enjoy it.

Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book, but my opinions are my own.
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Despite being twins, Lillian Kaufman couldn’t be more different than her sister Eleanor.  Lillian, a student of physics at Columbia, spends her days at the lab working on complicated problems in hopes of winning a scholarship to continue her studies at Harvard.  Lillian doesn’t put much effort in her appearance, which wouldn’t bother her, except she has a twin to remind the world of what she could look like if she tried. 

Eleanor sees her futures under the bright lights of the stage.  She wants to work for the famous Rogers and Hammerstein duo on their latest project Carousel, and she will do what it takes to snag a spot.  Unlike her sister, she charms everyone she meets, including Max, one of Eleanor’s fellow students in the physics department at Columbia.

When the government comes to Lillian’s physics class offering spots at a top secret research project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee to defer deployment, many of her colleagues go, including Max and surprisingly Eleanor follows.  

When she suddenly goes missing, Lillian does the only things she can, she assumes the identity of her sister at this top secret facility to try to figure out what in the world has happened to her.  In the search for Eleanor, Lillian discovers some secrets that the government certainly doesn’t want to get out to the general public, and struggles to figure out who exactly she can trust. 

This book started a little slow for me, but picked up quickly when Lillian got to Tennessee to find her sister.  Perhaps she is neurodivergent, but Lillian seems to me a little cold and calculating, which makes her hard to relate to and selfish.  Her worry for her sister, only seemed to come when she realize her disappearance would affect her own future.  The story was interesting for sure, but I struggled to like the main character, which makes it less enjoyable. 

Thank you to NetGalley, Sourcebooks Landmark, and of course Sarah James for the advanced copy.  The Woman with Two Shadows comes out on July 26th.  All opinions are my own.
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Thank you Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for this advanced copy of The Woman with Two Shadows. I enjoyed the mystery in this book! Lillian is searching for her missing twin sister Eleanor who went to work at an army base in 1944. Lillian pretends to be her sister at the base and goes hunting for clues of Eleanor or what she may have found out to solidify her disappearance. 

I really liked Lillian, she was such a smart woman in a time that didn't value that in a woman. She was fearless and does get into some trouble because of that. 

Overall, 3 star read!
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This is the story of twin sisters who are identical in looks but different in everything else. One is warm and friendly and aspiring to be an actress. The other is cold and prickly and aspiring to be a physicist. When one sister disappears, it is up to the other sister to discover what happened. This story is told against the backdrop of the end of World War II, primarily in Tennessee, where the building blocks of the first atomic bomb are being developed and tested. The story includes many details of life in Oak Ridge, including the secrecy, treatment of women, treatment of blacks, experimentation on unsuspecting civilians, and much more. 
The characters are not entirely likeable and it is a stretch to believe that with two sisters who are so different that one could seamlessly step into the other's life. The information about Oak Ridge is interesting, and the mystery part of the story is compelling.
My thanks to NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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This is Lillian Kaufman’s story, a woman before her time, or a woman in a man’s world, and of all things she want to be a Physicist, and go to Harvard!
Her twin Eleanor is completely different, she is an actress, and though they are look alikes, they are very different!
There is the usual drama that surrounds sisters, or twins, but beyond everything they are family, and when one is missing, well, the other moves mountains, or in this case goes to a secret place in Tennessee.
Eleanor is not the only one missing, and now we are looking for answers, and some will unsettle you.
This is a story of secrets, some people keep, others a Government keeps. Answers come and there are surprises, and hopefully answers! Yes, this becomes a page turner looking for answers!
I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Sourcebooks Landmark, and was not required to give a positive review.
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A great debut novel.
This novel is very well written with well drawn characters. The main protagonist is Lillian and she sets out to find her missing twin sister Eleanor. It is an historical work of fiction with the added touch of romance.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in return for an honest review.
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Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author, for an ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
The synopsis of this book sounded interesting to me so I requested a copy to read.
Unfortunately, I have tried reading this book on 2 separate occasions and during this 2nd attempt, I have
decided to stop reading this book 
and state that this book just wasn't for me.
I wish the author, publisher and all those promoting the book much success and connections with the right readers.
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There was a good story here and it could have been a really excellent read. I definitely did not like Lillian at all so that made it hard for me to get into the book. I also thought we could have learned more about the compound and their work on bombs and definitely more about human experimentation! 

It turned into more of a romance novel which is not really my type of genre. It also seemed like a very short, surface read without ever delving into research/details or the moral/ethical dilemma with creating weapons of mass destruction. 

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the ARC of this book.
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When I first read the description of The Woman With Two Shadows, a debut novel by Sarah James, I thought it sounded very intriguing and right up my alley.  A historical fiction that takes place right after Germany has surrendered after WWII in a small town in Tennessee.  This town was built by the government and is run by the army to further the research on the Manhattan Project.  

Things I liked:
         -strong female main character
         -lots of twists and turns to keep you engaged
         -historical faction with a touch of love story to keep things interesting 
         -good writing style, easy to read/follow, moved at a good pace.

However the characters were unlikable and the story line was not convincing.  I have read some fiction that almost makes you believe it really happened but this fell just a little short in my opinion.  Having said that, with this being a debut novel, I will be  eager to read the next novel by this author and see what topic she selects next.
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Lillian and Eleanor are twins and complete opposites. Lillian is brainy, smart, planning to go to Harvard for graduate school, she is socially awkward and a introvert, prefering to be in a lab or with a book than interacting with other people. Eleanor is a outgoing social butterfly who is intent upon pursuing an acting career, loves the latest fashions and whose social calendar is always full. After a betrayal and falling out between the two sisters Eleanor takes a mysterious job somewhere in Tennessee.. Lillian hasn't heard from her in months when she gets a frantic phone call that Eleanor has disappeared. 
From that point on I will tell no more so as not to give any spoilers.I enjoyed this story it did hold my interest and some of the historical facts, like the size of the army base village where the Manhattan Project was developed, the scope of it was amazing, they had their own city, hidden away, a fully functional city like any other in the country, just secret. The secrecy amazes me, that something that size could even be kept a secret is amazing. 
What I did not like about this book was for one, Lillian, her character is not likeable, she is selfish and self-centered. I also do not think the scientists were portrayed very realistically, but who knows, that is just my opinion. The story does grab you and leads you through a twisting, turning path to the deadly conclusion which just made me angry at the end! This book is nicely paced and I read it in a day. 
I will give it a 4 star rating and recommend to historical fiction fans who want a fast paced adventure along with a dose of historical facts. 
Thank you to the publishers at Source Books Landmark and to Net Galley for the free ARC, I am leaving my honest review in return.
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I am a big historical fiction and thriller reader. And this book had the best of both worlds. I really enjoyed this book. I thought the plot was really good. I liked the setting of this book. OMG the ending of this book wow!! I think this needs to be one that you read. So good.
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“We built something terrible. We’ve made the world terrible. How can you not see that? How can you not feel the weight of that inside you?”

This is an ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING debut historical novel about one of the most closely held secrets of WW2 and a woman caught up in it when she follows her missing sister to the mysterious city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

If you are a STEM teacher or simply interested in learning more about the Manhattan Project, this book will most definitely appeal to you. 

Like the author, I found it surprising that a group of the smartest Americans in 1943-1945, ones who daily question everything and rely on evidence, could so easily press pause and ‘stop thinking’ when it suited them. Here was a town of several thousand people doing various seemingly menial, but extremely necessary jobs, day in and day out without knowing how they were helping the war effort. How could they live like that?! Wouldn’t you want to know?! Only a handful could be trusted with the secret of the atom bomb and were threatened if they ever talked about their job to outsiders! Oak Ridge, TN was a secret city. It wasn’t on a map, its existence was never acknowledged by the government during the war, and almost none of the residents know that they were working on a new type of bomb, only some kind of war effort. I’m curious to find out how the knowledge of what they had been doing affected them after Hiroshima. 

Since learning about the Manhatten Project, I’ve questioned how history would have been different had the scientists and calutron girls working on the fusion reactions known what they were developing. 

If you enjoy mysteries, cover-ups, missing people, and conspiracy theories, this is a good read! I loved the name-dropping of famous mathematicians and scientists and appreciated the fabulous lessons the author presented in furthering our knowledge in this field. Congratulations to the author for a great title and to the graphic design team for a fabulous cover. 

I’m still thinking about Lillian putting on Eleanor’s boots and the realization that occurred!

Somewhat forgotten after the war, the calutron girls’ stories are making a comeback. Now I’m excited to read Kiernan’s “The Girls of Atomic City” and Beard’s “The Atomic City Girls.” 

This advance copy was gifted to me by Sarah James, SOURCEBOOKS Landmark, and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
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Wonderfully written, great characters, good pace. Loved it! Thanks to the publisher, author and netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Eleanore and Lillian Kaufman are identical twins with opposite personalities. Eleanore is interested in makeup, performing in theatre, and giving singing lessons whereas Lillian has a love of mathematics and physics and has no time for girly pastimes. Lillian has her sights set on getting the Allerton Prize to get into Harvard. Eleanore’s goal is to gain a critical acting role. Unfortunately, the sisters have a falling out and Eleanore goes with her boyfriend, Max, to Oak Ridge Tennessee to work on a top secret project for the military. 

After a couple of months, Lillian hasn’t heard from Eleanore and Max calls and asks her to come to Tennessee because Eleanore has gone missing. Will Lillian be able to find her missing sister or will she find her place at Clinton Engineering Works on the top secret project?

This book is based on The Manhattan Project and the military’s race to build an atomic bomb before other countries, even though Germany had already surrendered. I also didn’t know there were experiments conducted on people with radioactive materials!
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For a debut novel by Ms. James, I did find the research and writing well done. The main reason for a 3 star review  was simply characters that were unbelievable. I did have difficulty getting "into" the storyline.
Ms. James does show talent and should be appreciated for her research and writing skills.
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The Woman with Two Shadows is intriguing beyond compare. Sarah James crafts an ingenious story based on perhaps the most threatening world event in the 20th century; she articulates a mystery as fascinating as anything I have previously read.

The narrative is in the first person of Lillian Kaufman, the 7-minute-elder twin to Eleanor Kaufman. Lillian is a brilliant mathematician with ambitions to win the Allerton Prize and gain her place at Harvard University. She was obsessed; mathematics was her life, and there was no room for typical girly pastimes. On the other hand, Eleanor represents the epitome of girly and uses her outgoing personality to gain her most wanted desire; a critical acting role. She gets an immense opportunity to try for a lead role, but the timetable threatens Lillian's plans to go to Harvard, and the two have a falling out. 

When Eleanor's acting role gets postponed, she joins the army on March 30th, 1945, and goes off to Tennessee, leaving an unusual coolness between the twins. After two months, Lillian has heard nothing from Eleanor; Max Medelson phones Lillian and asks her to come to Tennessee because Eleanor has disappeared.

I love the way Sarah James juxtaposes identical twins with different personalities and provides a detailed look at how Lillian manages to assume Eleanor's psyche. I enjoyed the construction technique, which includes using parts of the beginning and end of the story in layers and repeating the method as many times as required, thus making the story exciting all the way through. In addition, the prose expeditiously moves the story along in all its intricate details. A bonus for this reader is the inclusion of many rules of physics to explain both scientific and non-scientific concepts.

The author reveals a delightfully complicated coming-of-age interest for Lillian and Eleanor: involving Max Medelson, a physicist whom Lillian thinks of as an idiot; and Dr. Andrew Ennis (famous as the man who yelled at Niels Bohr), who occupies the critical position of Project Director at the Clinton Engineering Works in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

I rate The Woman with Two Shadows 5 out of 5 stars for its passion, creativity, and research - all in a highly readable package. I found nothing to dislike; however, some readers may not wish to ponder the moral dilemmas re-examined through Lillian's, Max's, and Andrew's discussions. 

I recommend it to scientists, physicists, politicians, and institutions of learning with the caveat that a critical theme represents a dark reflection of human nature.
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