In 1869, Washington A. Roebling is commissioned as the chief engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge, one of America’s most iconic structures. His wife, Emily Roebling, is a keen advocate for women’s suffrage, at a time when American society expects her to stay home and support her husband silently.
But when Washington falls ill on the job, Emily supports him in the most immediate and courageous way imaginable, taking over his role and overseeing the construction of the bridge.
Emily spends the next eleven years supervising the colossal project, calculating measurements, deciding on materials, and undertaking the impossibly intricate work of cable construction. But as the bridge finally rises against the New York skyline, Emily is not quite sure whether she has realised her own ambitions or those of her husband.
This novel is very well researched and includes an author’s note revealing what is history and what is fiction. That was good, because I am always amazed at the strong women that helped our country grow and were never lauded for it.
Emily’s character is the epitome of someone who goes out of their way to assist a husband. She reads his books to teach herself engineering, and shows an interest in his work. Most of us have done that, but how many would then jump in to finish a job your husband started? Especially in a man’s field at a time when that wasn’t done? Emily is remarkable and smart, and she perseveres through many setbacks. She’s a great role model for modern women.