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TaraShea Nesbit Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Wives of Los Alamos (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Beheld (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

TaraShea Nesbit
Author TaraShea Nesbit was born in Dayton, Ohio, one of the lesser-known secret locations of the Manhattan Project during World War II.

TaraShea attended Ohio State University, studying creative writing and got her MFA from Washington University in St. Louis.

Her work has appeared in Quarterly West, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Iowa Review, and The Collagist, as well as other publications. TaraShea teaches at the University of Denver and is the non-fiction editor at Better: Culture & Lit.

“The Wives of Los Alamos” was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and a finalist for a PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. It was also an Indies Introduce Debut Authors selection and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection.

Once TaraShea realized people could make a career out of writing, that is what she wanted to do. However, it took a long time before she believed she could really be somebody able to make a career of it. Her dad called her often during her first year of college to try and persuade her that writing made for a fun pastime but wouldn’t she rather be a stockbroker? They compromised on law, but she didn’t need to take too many literature classes, in her stubbornness, to choose to pursue her original love.

During her earliest reading experiences, she believed writers were people that loved other people so much that they made great experiences for them. She believed it would be great to have the chance to do that sort of thing. Her idea of what it truly meant to be a writer got a lot more complicated with time.

Her MFA is in poetry, but she wrote her thesis that was half poetry and half a novella-length bildungsroman. She queried agents after she graduated about the novella, and got some kind rejections. However, the lines between prose and poetry were drawn much stronger then as opposed to now. And thinking back, she thinks that the project might not have been so good. Just about everybody she knows has a “failed” first project, and finds it is good to be rejected. Failure liberates and will become less scary, she finds.

She became interested in writing about the wives of Los Alamos after giving a reading from a lyric essay about a different part of the Manhattan Project, the Hanford Site in Eastern Washington. A friend’s aunt, named Jane Viste, talked to her afterwards and asked about the wives of the scientists. TaraShea didn’t think she would be the one to tell the story, however, her interest in atomic history and the conversation with Jane lingered over one winter break.

She told herself she would just give penning the novel about these women a chance, but once she started writing, she was unable to quit. She realized that writing their story was a chance to explore the idea of culpability, something she still worries over today.

Before she wrote the novel, she had never published any short stories, just some poems and non-fiction in literary journals. This was her first real project that she told herself she was writing fiction. It was liberating to her because a lot of truth winds up lost in the historical record.

Her debut novel, called “The Wives of Los Alamos”, was released in the year 2014.

“The Wives of Los Alamos” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2014. They came to New Mexico, ready to have an adventure, or at least resigned to it. Hope soon turned to hardship while they were required to adapt to a rugged military town where everything was secret, including what their husbands were actually doing at the lab. Even though they were strangers, they joined together, and adapted to a landscape that was just as fierce as it was absorbing, full of all the banalities of everyday life and the drama of scientific discovery.

While the bomb was being invented, friendships were forged, babies were born, kids grew up, and Los Alamos slowly turned into a real community. One that was strained by the words they were unable to say out loud or even in letters, and with the freedoms they didn’t have. The war’s end brought on even bigger challenges, however, while the scientists and their families struggled with the heavy burden of their contribution to the most destructive force in mankind’s history.

Readers found the writing in the novel takes the individual and the group experiences of all the women and it makes it all come alive for them. Fans of the novel were able to feel the loneliness, frustration, and anger the women felt during this time. This provides an interesting glimpse into a very vital time in US history. Nesbit also does a great job of describing the primitive surroundings of New Mexico and the odd living situations the women found themselves in.

“Beheld” is the second stand alone novel and was released in the year 2020. One stranger arrives in the fledgling colony of Plymouth, Massachusetts, and the crime that shakes this divided community right to its core.

Ten years have gone by after the Mayflower pilgrims arrived on unfamiliar and rocky soil, Plymouth is not the same land that its residents first imagined. Apparently established on a dream of having religious freedom. However, in reality the town is led by some fervent puritans that prohibit the residents from trading, living, and worshipping the way they want to.

By the time an unfamiliar ship, which bears some new colonists, shows up on the horizon one morning in the summer, the Anglican outsiders have finally had enough.

This novel is well researched and captivating piece of historical fiction. It has some vividly portrayed characters, and will take the reader on a rather eye opening journey. Nesbit writes in the vernacular of the period, which helps the reader become absorbed in life during the seventeenth century. Readers found some of the ideas as well as the writing to be what hooked them, and kept them engaged the entire way through.

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