Review: ‘The Wonder’ by Emma Donoghue

 28449257.jpgIn the latest masterpiece by Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room, an English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle-a girl said to have survived without food for months-soon finds herself fighting to save the child’s life.

Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O’Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale’s Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl.

Written with all the propulsive tension that made Room a huge bestseller, THE WONDER works beautifully on many levels–a tale of two strangers who transform each other’s lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.

The latest masterpiece by Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room

[Goodreads]

Book details

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

ISBN: 9780316393874

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Review

Donoghue’s latest novel is yet another delightfully dark exploration of the human condition, this time drawing attention to a phenomenon tucked away in the Irish Midlands. Nightingale-trained Lib Wright is hired to investigate the case of a fasting girl who remains miraculously healthy, yet her determination to expose eleven-year-old Anna and her family as frauds dwindles the more she sees. As Lib fights an internal battle of sense against her morality, whatever miracle keeping Anna alive begins to fade, and she must choose between the objectivity of her training or saving the life of a child.

The Wonder is a chilling story of fundamentalism and fragile mortality that left me reeling. I’ve always enjoyed Donoghue’s writing, but this novel demonstrated her exquisite storytelling ability like never before. Building tension and subtle shifts in emotion had me riveted right from the first chapter, the story and characters slowly weaving their way through my mind until I couldn’t concentrate on anything else. The author didn’t let me slip out of her grasp for one moment until I’d turned the very last page.

Dark, beautiful and deeply moving, The Wonder is a perfect fit for those who enjoyed The Children Act and Burial Rites.

4 stars

Rating: 4/5

Recommended to: Readers who enjoyed Room, and fans of beautifully crafted (if a little slow-paced) novels.

This review was also posted on Writers Write’s review page.

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