A lone spacecraft is on its way to Mars; meanwhile Venus heads toward Pasadena – and back to her job at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where confidence is high among rocket scientists that the red planet will soon reveal its secrets.
Venus is in no hurry – her male colleagues make lewd jokes about her, enter her in beauty contests against her will, and encourage her to wear her miniskirts even shorter – so she dawdles as she drives, examining the journal she’s just inherited, written by her Great Aunt Lulu, secretary – with benefits – to a famous astronomer, and a woman who gazed at the red planet through a giant telescope long before women were allowed to do such things.
The clever JPL scientists are certain their new spacecraft will discover evidence of life on Mars, but Venus finds it first – on the pages of Lulu’s journal. But before she can use this information to level the workplace playing field, a cosmic misstep strands her at Lulu’s old haunt, Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. Venus must navigate the Victorian era and the space age simultaneously to claim her place in an expanding universe.
In this stylish and edgy novel, author Jan Millsapps deftly teases the female experience out of a history of mostly male astronomers and rocket scientists, and tells a mesmerizing story about generations of women struck by the stars.