The Other Einstein
by Marie Benedict
A vivid and mesmerizing novel about the extraordinary woman who married and worked with one of the greatest scientists in history.
What secrets may have lurked in the shadows of Albert Einstein’s fame? His first wife, Mileva “Mitza” Marić, was more than the devoted mother of their three children—she was also a brilliant physicist in her own right, and her contributions to the special theory of relativity have been hotly debated for more than a century.
In 1896, the extraordinarily gifted Mileva is the only woman studying physics at an elite school in Zürich. There, she falls for charismatic fellow student Albert Einstein, who promises to treat her as an equal in both love and science. But as Albert’s fame grows, so too does Mileva’s worry that her light will be lost in her husband’s shadow forever.
A literary historical in the tradition of The Paris Wife and Mrs. Poe, The Other Einstein reveals a complicated partnership that is as fascinating as it is troubling.
4 of 5 Stars
Even though this book wasn’t exactly what I expected I still really liked it. I didn’t have a lot of knowledge about Einstein before going into the book which in a way probably helped me enjoy it. I don’t read a lot of historical fiction so it was most likely a bit more shocking to me how women were treated in this story due to the era it’s depicting. After putting this book down my first thoughts were “I’m really glad I wasn’t born in the early 1900’s” and “What is so attractive about emotionally unavailable men?”
I loved the story even when it alternated between breaking my heart and infuriating me. I do wonder if the story is accurate to how Albert Einstein truly was. I often thought of him as this sort of whimsical and creative genius but never went further to examine what unpleasant traits that personality might come with. I can imagine that he was very immature and due to the era probably treated his wife poorly compared to what we expect today.
Even though I’m hardly a scientist and have almost no math skills to speak of I would have liked a bit more focus on that side of Mileva. The book was a read through of some of her imagined journal entries which I really enjoyed. It was interesting to get to see Albert Einstein through her perspective rather than the scientific community.
I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys historical fiction but caution those wanting a love story. While this does contain romance I would refer to it as more of a heartbreak story rather than a romance. Book groups will also enjoy this as it’s got a variety of topics that could be discussed as well as a convenient book club guide in the back.
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. She lives in Pittsburgh with her family.
Big thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark for providing me with a copy of this book free in exchange for my honest review.