Full confession: I went to space camp when I was a kid. And it was amazing. It’s like living Ender’s Game, except with less murder and more science (and only for a week, instead of years). My biggest takeaway from that experience was that working mission control was far more exciting and interesting than being an astronaut – I wanted to be part of the team that during Apollo 13 had to figure out how to get a square-shaped filter onto a circle-sized vent using only the materials inside the space compartment (such a good movie/story). Then my little childhood heart broke when I learned that working at mission control involved a huge amount of math, and my love of space was dwarfed by my utter terror of arithmetic.
So I was extremely excited to learn that there was a historic romance book based around the (fictionalized) world of early NASA space exploration where the two protagonists aren’t astronauts, but MISSION CONTROL engineers and computer experts. Although the characters are great, their chemistry is perfect, and their romance is realistic and beautiful, what really made this a 5-star book is the glimpse into another time and place. This was back when women were assumed to be the best computer programmers (because they’re better at details, you know) and the bounds of what was possible in engineering and physics was just beginning to be tested. This was when the drive to put a man on the moon had the sanctity of religion, and folks who did all of the calculations were called “computers” as a job (again, women were assumed to be better at this, I can’t get over how much I love that fact).
Such a fun book, highly recommended read.