The Longest Night by Andria Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Although the book is historical in nature, the story is much more than an education in nuclear energy post Korean War. It's a quiet book that examines relationships between couples in different stages, as well as pressure that can impact marriage from superiors within and without the military. Abuses of power that threaten families and safety of others. There is also the quiet, seemingly innocent friendships that blossom that, innocent or not, damage trust within marriages.
The book is much more literary than action packed. The author brings up images of a different time where women's roles were much more clearly defined, smoking inside was the norm, and one car per family was enough. Nuances of childlike behavior are described, even the look and feel of contractions are vividly reminiscent of any woman who has had them. There are rules of propriety and the crossing of those rules was a serious infraction. I appreciated the character who befriended Nat and her reaction to her friendship between Nat and Esrom. Although her reaction seemed harsh, I remember vividly a similar experience from my past. A young husband bought an expensive gift for a woman, not his wife, in the presence of a young man that he had befriended. Knowing that the friend knew of the infidelity made him somehow complicit when husband's actions came out in my mind. The author did a wonderful job of expressing why I could never look at the young friend with any degree of respect after that.
I really enjoyed reading this book. The only reason it isn't getting five stars is because I'm particular about a few inaccuracies that few people would catch. The geography of Utah, the small misperceptions of Mormon people bothered me. Yet Esrom was remarkably accurate in most accounts of what a good Mormon boy might do for sense of duty.