In Russia, in the summer of 1914, as war with Germany looms and the Czar's army tightens its grip on the local Jewish community, Miri Abramov and her brilliant physicist brother, Vanya, are facing an impossible decision. Since their parents drowned fleeing to America, Miri and Vanya have been raised by their babushka, a famous matchmaker who has taught them to protect themselves at all costs: to fight, to kill if necessary, and always to have an escape plan. But now, with fierce, headstrong Miri on the verge of becoming one of Russia's only female surgeons, and Vanya hoping to solve the final puzzles of Einstein's elusive theory of relativity, can they bear to leave the homeland that has given them so much?
Before they have time to make their choice, war is declared and Vanya goes missing, along with Miri's fiancé. Miri braves the firing squad to go looking for them both. As the eclipse that will change history darkens skies across Russia, not only the safety of Miri's own family but the future of science itself hangs in the balance.
Grounded in real history -- and inspired by the solar eclipse of 1914 -- A Bend in the Stars offers a heart-stopping account of modern science's greatest race amidst the chaos of World War I, and a love story as epic as the railways crossing Russia.
"[A] rousing debut...Fans of Kristen Hannah will enjoy Barenbaum's exhilarating tale."
--- Publishers Weekly
"I loved this so much. The comparison to Dr. Zhivago, one of my favorite movies, to Einstein is perfect. A love triangle, a solar eclipse, the Czar and everyone trying to just survive, A Bend in the Stars is a terrific literary saga for those readers of All the Light You Cannot See and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena."
---Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books
"A Bend in the Stars is a vivid and wrenching debut, full not only with the darkness of history but also with hope -- a literary saga for fans of The Invisible Bridge and All the Light We Cannot See. Love and war and Relativity weave together seamlessly, and we're left understanding that there's more than one way for the universe to bend."
--- Rebecca Makkai, author of the National Book Award Finalist The Great Believers
"A sweeping epic that transports the reader into another era, even as the struggles of its characters feel powerfully modern and timely."
--- Madeline Miller, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Circe
"With the timelessness of a folk tale, the twists and turns of an adventure story, and the pleasures of a science thriller, A Bend in the Stars both fills the reader's heart and keeps it beating fast. This novel's strong gravitational pull draws you powerfully alongside Miri and Vanya in their harrowing quests, and its emotional payoff makes you never want to let them go."
--- Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men
"Rachel Barenbaum's A Bend in the Stars is a beautiful thrill ride steeped in the history of Czarist Russia, from its poverty-ridden shtetls to its roaring trains, and the awesome lure of science. This is a book of history rewritten, dreams realized, and justice served-a book about relativity, war, hatred, and the weight of our assumptions and our great loves."
--- Michelle Hoover, author of The Quickening