In this absorbing and suspenseful debut novel—reminiscent of Revolutionary Road and inspired by a little-known piece of history—a young couple must fight to save both their marriage and the town they live in.
In 1959, Nat Collier moves with her husband, Paul, and their two young daughters to Idaho Falls, a remote military town. An Army Specialist, Paul is stationed there to help oversee one of the country’s first nuclear reactors—an assignment that seems full of opportunity.
Then, on his rounds, Paul discovers that the reactor is compromised, placing his family and the entire community in danger. Worse, his superiors set out to cover up the problem rather than fix it. Paul can’t bring himself to tell Nat the truth, but his lies only widen a growing gulf between them.
Lonely and restless, Nat is having trouble adjusting to their new life. She struggles to fit into her role as a housewife and longs for a real friend. When she meets a rancher, Esrom, she finds herself drawn to him, comforted by his kindness and company. But as rumors spread, the secrets between Nat and Paul build and threaten to reach a breaking point.
Based on a true story of the only fatal nuclear accident to occur in America, The Longest Night is a deeply moving novel that explores the intricate makeup of a marriage, the shifting nature of trust, and the ways we try to protect the ones we love.
The Longest Night: A Novelby Andria Williams
After reading this book, I was trying to decide who I would recommend it to. I came to the conclusion that people who enjoyed The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel or The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan would most likely want to check this one out. Although both of the aforementioned are non-fiction, and The Longest Night is fiction, I felt like the same vibes were there: men working on a government project that places them in an important position; their wives and families following them wherever they are stationed, staying home and worrying over them. Dedication. Love. Sacrifice.
This story is one that I can't relate to at all, but I find it interesting. Nat Collier, the protagonist, gave me what I can only imagine is an accurate account of what it is like to be in love with your husband, but hate his profession; to be so lonely, that you don't know what to do with yourself. I could totally understand how Nat was surrounded by women who were in the same position as her, and yet feel like she was all alone. A few of my favorite parts of this book were when Nat took things into her own hands and tried to remedy that loneliness. She packed up her girls into their car and drove to a neighboring town with a beach. I gave her a round of applause for those instances, when she stopped feeling sorry for herself and just did something about the situation she was in.
Lately it seems as though the feminist movement has been gaining all momentum. Women are doing more than ever before, but this book shows that even though we may not realize it today, the path we walk was paved early by women such as Nat Collier, way back in the 1950's. If they could do it back then, we can do it now.
Profanity/Language: 17 religious exclamations; 20 mild obscenities; 6 religious profanities; 4 derogatory names; 21 scatological words; 4 anatomical terms; 6 F-Word derivatives.
Violence/Gore: A character almost passes out from an electric shock; a woman slaps a man; a woman is mentioned to be seen with her eyes punched in, dead; a character cuts their finger on a can and some blood is mentioned; a man hits his peer; a minor girl is missing; buildings are mentioned to explode and injured humans are seen laying on the ground; an injured man is bleeding in one brief scene; an injured man dies; a car crash is mentioned to occur; a minor girl almost drowns in a brief scene.
Sex/Nudity: A woman is mentioned to "turn to men and drinking"; a husband and wife undress each other and lay outside, sex is implied; adults kiss multiple times; a woman implies a man is cheating; a man kisses a woman and lies next to her; a woman removes her nightgown for her husband; sexual innuendo and comments among men are made; a man fantasizes about his wife; a woman is mentioned to be only in her bra; a man makes love to his wife in one brief scene; an unmarried couple kisses; a pair of minors are found nude together, sexual activity is implied; a minor is mentioned to "not be chaste" a man has photos of bare chested women that are discovered.
Mature Subject Matter:
War, personal crises, death.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Minors drink; drugs are mentioned to be used to get high; an adult smokes; adults drink bourbon; a woman smokes.
Reviewed By Lydia