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Book Review: The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

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In The Wonder by Emma Donoghue, Lib, a Nightingale trained Nurse accepts a job in Ireland. Her job is to observe Anna, a child whom claims not to have eaten in months. Anna and her family claim that she is being maintained by manor from heaven. Lib’s job is to prove or disprove these claims with the help of a Roman Catholic Nun.

Sounds simple enough? Well nothing about this cleverly woven story is simple. Each of the characters is complex, felt completely real and has their own secrets that are revealed over the course of the story.

Lib and the Nun agree watch shifts, ensuring that Anna is watched at all times. Lib immediately sets to stripping down the room to search for food.

Visitors flock to see The Wonder, the child who can survive without food. Lib immediately puts a stop to the visitors. Lib even limits the contact Anna has with her mother and other family members. All to prevent any food from being slipped covertly to the child. Throughout Lib’s watches she keeps a memorandum book noting down anything observed.

Whilst off-duty Lib meets Byrne, a Correspondent for the Irish Times. At first she wont say much about Anna, Anna’s family or the situation because she is concerned about confidentiality. But as Lib notices subtle deterioration in Anna’s health, Lib confides in Byrne.

The plot starts at a crawl, to slow for me. But pacing does increase to the equivalent of brisk walk from the middle to the end of the book. The ending is inventive, imaginative and overall pleasing.

The Wonder was a Christmas I requested off my mum. The description online didn’t tell me much about the story. If I’d known it was historical fiction, I probably wouldn’t have asked for it. I’m really not into historical fiction. With that said, it was an enjoyable read. But not a story that I would read again.

If you like historical fiction or stories set in Ireland then The Wonder is worth picking up. The Wonder is available to buy on Amazon and at all good book shops.

Review soon,

Antony

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