The Pull of the Stars

A Novel

Hardcover, 416 pages

Published July 21, 2020 by Little, Brown and Company.

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5 stars (2 reviews)

In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city center, where expectant mothers who have come down with the terrible new Flu are quarantined together. Into Julia's regimented world step two outsiders -- Doctor Kathleen Lynn, a rumoured Rebel on the run from the police , and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.

In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over three days, these women change each other's lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work.

In The Pull of the Stars, Emma Donoghue once again finds the light in the darkness in this new classic of hope and survival against all odds.

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Review of 'The Pull of the Stars' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This is probably four stars from the perspective of the rest of Emma Donoghue's work, which means amazing by anyone else's standards. It is quite graphic on the subject of birth. Think Call the Midwife ++ (things that can go wrong will, also pandemic), so very satisfying and very focused on women, but also horrifying in spots, gynecologically and socioeconomically.

I wasn't 100% convinced by the central relationships--this feels a bit slight compared to her other books despite the grim subject matter--but the characters were enjoyable and interesting.

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rated it

4 stars