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The Longest Night: A Novel by Andria…

The Longest Night: A Novel

by Andria Williams

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Set in the late 50s/early 60s, the author takes a look at the first fatal nuclear accident in the U.S. in Idaho Falls. But this is far from a dry accounting of the facts surrounding the accident. Instead, the author builds a fictional story around the people involved.

Part suspense/thriller and part domestic drama, we get a peek into the lives of the military men and their families who were stationed at the base. Most of the scenes involve Paul, a rather reserved type, and his free spirit wife, Nat. Paul is dealing with mounting worries about the reactor, his inept and dangerous boss, and a wife who is increasingly unhappy. Among the cast of characters are Mitch, the aforementioned boss, and his wife, Jeannie, the Queen Bee ‘mean girl’ of the group. Her scenes were among the most fun to read. A great character!

The time period was perfectly rendered down to the smallest of details. The harsh winters and barren landscape add to the wives’ feelings of loneliness and isolation. Add in the mounting suspense of what’s happening at the reactor site, and this makes for a tense, addictive read.
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  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
I have never heard about Idaho Falls or the nuclear accident that occurred there prior to this book, and I'm certainly going to do some follow-up reading! I love it when I can learn about something new from historical fiction and that was definitely the case with The Longest Night, which included well-developed characters and a strong sense of the time and place. An enjoyable book & highly recommended for historical fiction fans. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | May 9, 2016 |
I received a free copy of this ebook from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

I have to admit that I find nuclear history to be endlessly fascinating (in a horrifying kind of way). The SL-1 nuclear disaster is not well known, so I was surprised that someone chose to write a fictional book dealing with the event. For anyone who knows the background of SL-1, there are a lot of myths involving the accident, involving things like a sordid love triangle, and a murder-suicide. Neither of these are the case, but they are most often associated with the disaster. As I dove into this novel, I was afraid that the author was going to use the love triangle or murder suicide as a plot device. Even though the author had to include characters and situations that were not part of the disaster, I felt she handled the event remarkably well. The characters were well done, and they all chafed at the constraints that military life and family life have placed upon them. I think this book was just as much about military life as it was about SL-1. I think this would be enjoyed by most historical fiction fans, and anyone who likes a true story mixed into their fiction. I look forward to more by this author. ( )
  LISandKL | Dec 30, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812997743, Hardcover)

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.
Advance praise for The Longest Night
“In The Longest Night, Andria Williams demonstrates her masterly understanding of the painfully gorgeous intimacies of the human condition. The author’s thrilling storyline will keep you turning the pages, while her ability to inject a sharp dose of hope, fear, and desire into the most innocent of scenes will take you captive. I loved it.”—David R. Gillham, author of City of Women
“Andria Williams writes about the challenges and struggles faced by military families in a wholly original way. As a military spouse, Williams brings every nuance of this world to life, but it’s her brimming talent and startling insight into the fragility and tenacity of marriage that kept me glued to the page.”—Siobhan Fallon, author of You Know When the Men Are Gone
“Engrossing, witty, dynamic, and beautifully written, The Longest Night is a literary thrill ride. Andria Williams’s characters—particularly the 1960s military wives—are portrayed with extraordinary intimacy. This is a lovely, harrowing, and original novel. You will want to read it in a single night.”—Julie Schumacher, author of Dear Committee Members
“Andria Williams’s wonderful debut novel is a sobering yet inspiring portrait of human nature, with precisely rendered details about the early years of the nuclear power era.  With exceptional characterization, serious content, graceful structure, and a storyline as gripping as a psychological thriller, The Longest Night is both unforgettable and impossible to put down.”—Frederick Reiken, author of Day for Night
“There is a kind of story about the American West that you think you know. And this book destabilizes it. Williams creates characters who challenge the protocols of the time, and are irradiated by the results. This is the West I want to read about, where landscape shapes and dislocates, where one falls and is found again. Compassionate and compelling, Williams honors the lives of her characters, and shines in this striking debut.”—Nina McConigley, author of Cowboys and East Indians

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 03 Jul 2015 18:17:49 -0400)

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