Emma Donoghue writes it - I need to read it. I've been waiting for The Pull of the Stars to release - and I couldn't help myself - I finished it in a day. Yes, it's that good (as are all of Donoghue's books)
Donoghue wrote The Pull of the Stars before Covid 19 came about. But the similarities are frightening. History truly does repeat itself.
The Pull of the Stars takes place over three days in a maternity quarantine ward in a hospital in Dublin - at the height of the 1918 Flu Pandemic.
Julia Power is in charge of the three bed ward as there are very few nurses to go around. The local nunnery provides young Bridie as a helper for Julia. And the third of this triangle is Dr. Lynn. Kathleen Lynn is an actual historical figure who was a pioneer in her field - and deeds. I truly enjoy Donoghue's blending of fact and fiction in her books.
The setting is so detailed, I felt like I was in the little ward, struggling to grab just a bit of the fresh air trying to get in through the wee window. The smells, the lack of privacy, the desperate struggle to just breathe. All while pregnant. The descriptions of childbirth are visceral - and again, true to the time. Julia's care of the sick women in her care and her sense of duty are impeccable. But there are cracks in her carefully cultivated public persona. Her obligations do battle with her want of more. More for her patients, more for women - and more for herself. A partner, a confidant, a child. Bridie's enthusiasm, quickness in mind and body and her outlook on life despite the hardships she has endured will endear her to the reader. Donoghue does a fantastic job as well at bring Dr. Lynn to life. A woman truly ahead of her time.
Ahh, this book is heartbreaking. The treatment of women during this time period, the mortality rate of infants, the Catholic Church's abuse of power, life and death, the effects of war and so much more. But the spark of light (and pull of the stars) lives in these pages too. A story you won't be able to put down.
So very, very well written. Read an excerpt of The Pull of the Stars.