The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
Genre: Fiction, Historical fiction, Mystery
When I first read the description for this novel, I thought it would be an interesting read. I did not, however, expect it to pull me in from the very beginning like it did.
Lib Wright, a nurse trained by Florence Nightingale herself, is hired, along with a Catholic nun, to watch over an eleven-year-old girl who claims to having not eaten anything for four months. Her small village in Ireland believes her to be a saint, a girl chosen by God. People from everywhere flock to this small village to see the “Fasting Girl” and reporters are sent to get her story. Lib, being the organized and practical person she is, sees right through the hoax and pushes to uncover the truth.
A question of ethics is raised when Anna’s health declines and her life is at risk. Should Lib only observe as she was hired to do and remain distant as her training as a Nightingale has molded her style of nursing? Lib questions her own values and the values of the child’s family and village as she tries to uncover the truth and prove to this young girl that her life is precious.
I think that some people may dub this book “too religious,” but I disagree. Religion was a part of life in the 19th century, especially for those who lived in small, remote areas. This book looked further than the religion of the time, at how religion could affect a young girl’s state of mind. Psychology and the question of ethics are much more significant when discussing this novel.
This book caught me completely by surprise as I was not expecting to be caught up in this story. It was a slow read, but I found that I couldn’t stop reading. And, I absolutely loved that ending.
I received a digital copy from NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company in exchange for an honest review.