A Bend in the Stars

  • A Boston Globe Bestseller
  • A New York Times Summer Reading Selection
  • A Summer 2019 B&N Discover Great New Writers selection
  • One of Barnes and Noble's Best Books of the Year... So far
  • #1 New Release on Amazon in Jewish Historical Fiction
  • A Globe and Mail Summer's Best Read
  • A Forbes Best Historical Novel for Summer 2019

All the Light We Cannot See meets The Nightingale in this literary WWI-era novel and epic love story of a brilliant young doctor who races against Einstein to solve one of the universe’s great mysteries.

In Russia, in the summer of 1914, as war with Germany looms and the Czar’s army tightens its grip on the local Jewish community, Miri Abramov and her brilliant physicist brother, Vanya, are facing an impossible decision. Since their parents drowned fleeing to America, Miri and Vanya have been raised by their babushka, a famous matchmaker who has taught them to protect themselves at all costs: to fight, to kill if necessary, and always to have an escape plan. But now, with fierce, headstrong Miri on the verge of becoming one of Russia’s only female surgeons, and Vanya hoping to solve the final puzzles of Einstein’s elusive theory of relativity, can they bear to leave the homeland that has given them so much?

Before they have time to make their choice, war is declared and Vanya goes missing, along with Miri’s fiancé. Miri braves the firing squad to go looking for them both. As the eclipse that will change history darkens skies across Russia, not only the safety of Miri’s own family but the future of science itself hangs in the balance.

Grounded in real history — and inspired by the solar eclipse of 1914 — A Bend in the Stars offers a heart-stopping account of modern science’s greatest race amidst the chaos of World War I, and a love story as epic as the railways crossing Russia.

Select praise for A Bend in the Stars

"...a thrilling adventure"


"...an epic march across Russia during the summer of 1914... The history of the period and the region has been carefully studied, but Barenbaum carves a fresh story from some of its most evocative and disturbing details."

New York Times

"...A Bend in the Stars reveals our collective impotence against the whims of the universe. And yet, the characters Barenbaum brings to life demonstrate resilience in the face of prejudice, steadfastness in the face of defeat, and the ability to love even when the world has cracked with hate."

Los Angeles Review of Books

"A sweeping epic that transports the reader into another era, even as the struggles of its characters feel powerfully modern and timely."

Madeline Miller, author of Circe and The Song of Achilles

"A rousing debut. . . Fans of Kristin Hannah will enjoy Barenbaum’s exhilarating tale."

Publishers Weekly

"You immediately lose yourself in A Bend in the Stars"

Jerusalem Post

Summer's Best Books: Compulsive reads

Globe and Mail

"If business leaders persevere, remaining as authentic as Miri does, they too can birth a vision."

Forbes: Best Historical Fiction Summer '19

"Buried within the pleasures of Barenbaum’s impeccable plotting and a thoroughly convincing love triangle are deep truths about being Jewish."

More Reviews
Supplemental Materials
Reading Group Guide Q&A with Rachel Barenbaum