The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Reviewed by:
Adult

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Title: The Wonder
By: Emma Donoghue
Published: 2016
Call #: Fiction Donog.E

Set in poverty-stricken Ireland about a decade after the worst of the potato famine, we meet Lib Wright, a “Nightingale,” a highly-trained nurse who learned her craft during the Crimean War from Florence Nightingale herself. She is sent from London to take on a very unusual assignment: the close and constant observation of 11-year old Anna O’Donnell whose family claims she has eaten nothing for four months yet survives with no ill effects. Lib, along with another nurse, a nun, to share the watch, are to prove it a fraud, or, as many hope, a miracle. Anna is an ethereal, biddable little thing. She’s hyper-devout, almost constantly whispering a litany of little prayers. Lib, a pragmatist and doubter of all religions, is determined to settle the issue. In the course of her observation, Lib encounters suspicion, superstition, greed, and a secret so buried and awful that it is causing the slow death of an innocent child. With the help of William Byrne, a Dublin journalist assigned to expose the story, Lib finds herself fighting to save Anna while caught between her own high standards of patient care and the task the townspeople have hired her for. Though not as gripping as her former best-selling novel Room, this is a compelling and complex story of how compassion and utter faith in the real world can bring someone to love.

Barbara L.

Share

Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.