There is so much to gain from Her Hidden Genius: a critical understanding of the history of biological science, a respect for the forgotten women who contributed major findings to the scientific community, and best of all, a new feminist icon to celebrate. With her trademark compassion and admiration, Benedict displays a deep understanding of Rosalind as a woman (not just as a scientist), making a strong case for a revision to the male-dominated history we are so often told. Like many of Benedict’s readers, I say this every time I finish one of her books: this is my favorite yet.
In her typical fashion, Benedict brings to life Franklin’s personality as well as her skill ... [some] events may be fictionalized, but they make for a well-rounded character, and a very good read ... One can also hope that Marie Benedict will continue to honor hidden women with her beautifully crafted and carefully researched historical novels that bring them to light.
... a beautiful book that reminds us of the presence of extraordinary people that history has forgotten ... I found Her Hidden Genius to be very interesting in balancing these [political] outside expectations to internal drive to know and learn and share. It is not possible to do that without a good support system and I loved the people that Rosalind surrounded herself with ... I am so happy to have read about these wonderful women who had a role to play in shaping the world we live in.
Benedict’s novel builds on the story-line told in the biographies as if recounted by Franklin herself. Though Franklin’s voice sounds suspiciously similar to that in the Author’s Note, it is sympathetic and credibly expository. Here is the authentically single-minded scientist ... Benedict’s Franklin can be blunt but makes warm friendships and loves the camaraderie of scientific collaboration ... Benedict is terrific at showing how male exclusivity operates and has researched the science in magnificent depth. It is a shame that complex detail, whether scientific, social or geographical, can create rather leaden, unconvincing dialogue ... But the lovely personal details...make this a humanly as well as scientifically engaging read.
Benedict adeptly brings forward another accomplished, intriguing, and unjustly overlooked or oversimplified real-life woman in a welcoming and involving historical novel ... Benedict so vividly elucidates, makes groundbreaking discoveries of the molecular structure of viruses and DNA, only to have Francis Crick and James Watson take credit for her work. Benedict subtly foreshadows Rosalind’s death at 37 from ovarian cancer while conveying her vitality, conviction, and passion as she designs and conducts exacting experiments, writes and presents numerous significant papers, travels, and climbs mountains.
... [an] underwhelming story ... The author spends a lot of time hammering on the well-known misogyny Rosalind faced, and tries to explicate her subject’s discoveries; on the latter, she achieves varying degrees of success. Much has been written about the real Franklin, and unlike Benedict’s other fictional chronicles of historical women, this doesn’t add a whole lot to the story.