I feel like I have been on the lookout for the story of Mileva Maric since I was a girl. Growing up, I was fortunate to have a wonderful aunt — who was an English professor and a forward-thinking nun — who fed me a steady diet of thought-provoking literature. One birthday, she gifted me with a book that rocked my perspective on the world. That book was Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon, a ground-breaking re-telling of the Arthurian legend from the perspective of the women in Arthur’s life, Guinevere and Morgan LeFay. This book made me wonder at the other untold stories of women that exist in legend and history, and set me on the path toward excavating women’s narratives.
So when I started reading the Scholastic biography for children Who Was Albert Einstein with one of my sons in preparation for his book report, I already had a well-developed antennae for the secret tales of women. The biography mentioned that Albert Einstein met his first wife at university where they were both physics students, and that they were married during his most prolific period. I was intrigued at the thought of this woman — a university student when very few women even received high school educations and who was married to one of the world’s most renown scientists during his “miracle year” of 1905 when he published four of his most important theories. What was her story? And what role might she have played in the foundation of modern physics?
I dug into the research about Mileva Maric. I learned that her largely untold history was mesmerizing in its right, not just as a fresh perspective on Albert’s life. Her climb from the remote regions of the Austro-Hungarian empire where it was illegal for girls to attend high school to the higher physics classrooms of a European university was astonishing in itself. From this backdrop and research THE OTHER EINSTEIN was born, and with it, the story of Mileva Maric was uncovered and revealed.
The Other Einstein
by Marie Benedict
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Release Date: 2016
Synopsis: What secrets may have lurked in the shadows of Albert Einstein’s fame? His first wife, Mileva “Mitza” Mari, was more than the devoted mother of their three children—she was also a brilliant physicist in her own right, and her contributions to the special theory of relativity have been hotly debated for more than a century.
In 1896, the extraordinarily gifted Mileva is the only woman studying physics at an elite school in Zürich. There, she falls for charismatic fellow student Albert Einstein, who promises to treat her as an equal in both love and science. But as Albert’s fame grows, so too does Mileva’s worry that her light will be lost in her husband’s shadow forever. A literary historical in the tradition of The Paris Wife and Mrs. Poe, The Other Einstein reveals a complicated partnership that is as fascinating as it is troubling.
Praise for The Other Einstein:
“In her compelling novel… Benedict makes a strong case that the brilliant woman behind [Albert Einstein] was integral to his success, and creates a rich historical portrait in the process.” — Publishers Weekly
“Benedict's debut novel carefully traces Mileva's life—from studious schoolgirl to bereaved mother—with attention paid to the conflicts between personal goals and social conventions. An intriguing… reimagining of one of the strongest intellectual partnerships of the 19th century.” — Kirkus
“Many will enjoy Benedict’s feminist views and be fascinated by the life of an almost unknown woman.” — RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
“…an ENGAGING and THOUGHT PROVOKING fictional telling of the poignant story of an overshadowed woman scientist.” — Booklist
About the Author:
Once a New York City lawyer, Marie Benedict had long dreamed about a fantastical job unraveling the larger mysteries of the past as an archaeologist or historian -- before she tried her hand at writing. While drafting her first book, she realized that she could excavate the possible truths lurking in history through fiction, and has done so in THE OTHER EINSTEIN, the story of Mileva Maric, Albert Einstein's first wife and a physicist herself. Writing as Heather Terrell, Marie also authored The Chrysalis, The Map Thief, and Brigid of Kildare. She is a graduate of Boston College and the Boston University School of Law, and lives in Pittsburgh with her family. For more information, visit her website.