Continuing my series of ‘Book reviews for Authors’, this month I read a North Vancouver City Library book club selection ‘The Pull of the Stars’ by Emma Donoghue. This is so well written I am surprised I never heard of her before, or any of her books. I will definitely put ‘Room’ on my to-read list.
The timing of this book was fortuitous, a book on the 1918 influenza pandemic that came out in time for the current Covid pandemic. It is historical fiction, but almost reads like a non-fiction work. The reader learns a ton about midwifery and nursing, and it only once or twice veers into a medical lecture by nurse Power.
There are three strong female characters here, all presented through the first person voice of Julia Power. I wished I could have gotten a little closer to Power, which is an odd criticism for a first person novel. I never felt I really knew what she wanted or what drove her, until the very end when she is so hurt and does something that felt rash. But in a good way. My other character complaint with Power was her naivety. I have a sister and two close friends who are nurses. By 30, they had seen everything, so when Julia was surprised by some of the abuse around her, it just didn’t ring true. But that is a minor quibble.
A good book is one you don’t want to end, and this book hit that mark. The sudden death of young Bridie Sweeny had me wishing it not to happen, so I was invested in the book and the characters by then. Which is what I want, a good emotional ride, an immersion into the fictional world. ‘The Pull of the Stars’ delivered that. Highly recommended.
February 9, 2022
Review of ‘The Pull of the Stars’ by Emma Donoghue
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