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Check It Out: The Wonder

After the resounding success of the film version of her contemporary thriller, Room, author Emma Donoghue is back with another tale sure to keep readers completely captivated till the very end.

Today, I’m recommending The Wonder by Emma Donoghue, a psychologically intense and suspenseful work of historical fiction.

In 1859, Lib Wright, an English nurse trained by the great Florence Nightingale herself, is tasked with an unsettling mission: watching over Anna O’Donnell, an 11-year-old devout Catholic girl from a small Irish village who, so it’s claimed, hasn’t eaten anything in four months.

While Anna doesn’t appear to be starving, neither is she blooming with health. Anna’s religious mother acts proud of her seemingly miraculous restraint. The girl’s physician, Dr. McBrearty is weirdly anxious to prove the fast is no hoax. And international journalist William Byrne is hell-bent on finding the truth.  Lib on the other hand believes that this “extraordinary wonder” is just one big lucrative scam.

Drawing inspiration from the true cases of nearly 50 “Fasting Girls”—who lived throughout the British Isles, Europe, and North American between the 16th and 20th centuries who were renowned for living without food for long periods of time, Emma Donohue’s latest dares to ask the tough questions about just how far some might go to prove their faith.   

Check out this haunting piece of historical fiction and many more like it at the Sioux City Public Library.   


Support for Check It Out comes from Avery Brothers.

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