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Rachel Barenbaum Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

A Bend in the Stars (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Atomic Anna (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Rachel Barenbaum
Rachel Barenbaum is a graduate of Grub Street’s Novel Incubator program. In a former life she was a hedge fund manager and a spin instructor, before she moved to the New Hampshire woods in order to write.

She has an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an AB in Philosophy and Literature from Harvard College. Rachel is also the founder of Debut Spotlight and the Debut Editor at A Mighty Blaze.

Rachel is a prolific writer and reviewer, whose work has appeared in publications like The Daily Beast, LitHub, LA Review of Books, Harper’s Bazaar, as well as others.

“A Bend in the Stars” was named a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and a New York Times Summer Reading Selection.

She does her writing in the mornings from 8 until 11:30 or noon. Then in the afternoon, she tends to do more researching and reading. She’s still writing some stuff, it’s just not typically as good writing for her as before, but she hangs on until about 4 or so.

For “Atomic Anna”, she was looking at these photo essays coming out of Chernobyl thirty years later, in 2016. It looked like such a ghost town. There’s a picture of a pool that made her think about how much of a ghost town it was, and made her think she wanted to write about it somehow.

She then saw a National Geographic expose on this cosmic ray station which the Soviets built on Mt. Aragats and thought how crazy that it was actually real and that it existed. There is one guy that lives up there, tending to all the equipment, because he’s afraid to leave. Since Rachel can only write about women, she was trying to figure out how to put women into such places, like Chernobyl or Mt. Aragats, and that’s how she came up with this story.

She has always loved time travel movies and books. Since she read “The Time Machine” by HG Wells, she’s always loved it and everything about it.

Rachel continues writing about Russia because her grandparents came to America from Russia. When they got to the states, they kept speaking Yiddish and Russian amongst themselves. However then Rachel came along and her brother, sister, and cousins, and they were not to speak any Yiddish or Russian. They were only allowed to speak French and English. Because French meant that you had arrived—it was the language of Russian nobility.

Rachel has always wanted to know about the Soviet Union and Russia and was always forbidden to talk about it, and to go there. Obviously anything you are forbidden from doing is something you definitely want to do. She is still obsessed with this language that she has never learned and this country which she’s never visited before, since it’s forbidden in her family.

“A Bend in the Stars” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 2019. This is both a heart pounding journey and an epic love story through WWI-era Russia, about one ambitious young doctor and her scientist brother in a race against Einstein to solve one of the greatest mysteries of the whole entire universe.

In the summer of 1914, Russia. While the war with Germany is looming and the Czar’s army tightens its grasp on the local Jewish community, Miri Abramov and Vanya (her brilliant physicist brother) face this impossible choice. Since their parents drowned while fleeing to America, Vanya and Miri have been raised by their babushka, this famous matchmaker that has taught them to protect themselves no matter what the costs. To fight, even to kill if necessary, and always have an escape plan ready. Can they bear to actually leave the homeland which has given them so very much?

Before they have any time to make their decision, war is declared and Vanya vanishes, along with Miri’s fiance. Miri braves the firing squad in order to track them both down. While they eclipse which will change history darkens skies all over Russia, not just the safety of Miri’s own family but also the future of science itself hangs in the balance.

“Atomic Anna” is the second stand alone novel and was released in 2022. Three generations of women work together and travel throughout time in order to prevent the Chernobyl disaster and right the wrongs from their past. Three brilliant women, two life altering mistakes, and one opportunity to reset the future.

In 1986, Anna Berkova (renowned nuclear scientist) sleeps in her bed in the Soviet Union as Chernobyl’s reactor melts down. It is the precise moment that she tears through time, and it’s by accident. When she opens her eyes, she has landed in the year 1992 just to find that Molly, her estranged daughter, has been shot in the chest. With her dying breath, Molly begs Anna to go back in time and stop this disaster, save Molly’s daughter Raisa, and put their family’s future on a much better path.

Molly, back in 60s Philadelphia, is coming of age as an adopted refusenik. Her family’s full of secrets and this past that they won’t share. She finds her solace in comic books, drawing “Atomic Anna”, a series of her own, and she is determined to make it as an artist. She meets Viktor, a charismatic and volatile man, their romance sets her life on a radically different course.

During the 80s, Raisa, a lonely teen and math prodigy, until this handsome and quiet boy moves in across the street and a strange old woman turns up claiming she’s her biological grandma. While Raisa finds these new issues of “Atomic Anna” in unexpected places, she notices that each comic challenges her to solve equations leading her to an impossible conclusion: time travel. And she understands finally what she must do.

While these remarkable women work together in order to prevent the greatest nuclear disaster of the 20th century, they wrestle with the power that their discoveries all hold. Even though you can change the past, does it really mean that you should?

Rachel delivers a novel that is masterfully plotted, intimate, and propulsive.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Rachel Barenbaum

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