The Pull of the Stars

The Pull of the Stars

A Novel

Book - 2020
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In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city center, where expectant mothers who have fallen sick are quarantined into a separate ward to keep the plague at bay. Into Julia's regimented world step two outsiders, a woman doctor who is a rumored Rebel, and a teenage girl, Bridie, procured by the nuns from their orphanage as an extra set of hands. At first, this Bridie seems unschooled in life, she makes up a bed with only the rubber mat and savors the weak tea and barely edible porridge from the hospital kitchen. But in the intensity of this ward, over three brutal days, Julia and the women come together in unexpected ways.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Company, [2020].
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9780316499019
Characteristics: 295 pages ; 25 cm.


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Review of "The Pull of the Stars" in Cascadia Weekly (Wednesday, November 18, 2020) by WCLS Collection Services Manager, Lisa Gresham. (more)

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Nov 30, 2020

It is a little disconcerting to read a book about the 1918 flu epidemic during the covid pandemic, but the story line is compelling. A nurse attempting to deliver babies for ill mothers is joined by a young girl who has lived in an orphanage all of her life. Together they find hope and love. Highly recommend this book and author. Kristi & Abby Tabby

dplSami Nov 25, 2020

Emma Donoghue and Little, Brown and Company went from final draft to publication in a remarkable four months. The similarities between the 1918 Pandemic, and the 2020 Pandemic are remarkable, but different. The unknown haunts this book as it has haunted us throughout the Coronavirus Pandemic and 2020. This story takes place over a short three days, which feels like an eternity in high-risk maternity influenza ward. Character driven, but packed with life and death, this may or may not be the book for you right now. Recommend for fans of Call The Midwife.

Nov 09, 2020

The buildup took for ever
Everything happens in the last chapter
Didn't hold my attention
Totally unlike The Room

Nov 09, 2020

Agree fully with comments by STPL_kerry. For me it’s one of those books that’s good BUT JUST DOESN’T QUITE GET THERE. The author seemed to have tried too hard to incorporate all the major current themes in the society: the pandemic, women independence/empowerment/contribution, institutional injustice, homosexuality, that it felt very forced.

ontherideau Nov 05, 2020

The Pandemic of 1918 sounds very similar to 2020 except we don't have a war going on at the same time, with soldiers coming back wounded, food rationed and extremely limited medicine.
"The public is urged to stay out of public places such as cafes, theatres, cinemas and public houses. See only those persons one needs to see. Refrain from shaking hands, laughing or chatting closely together. If one must kiss do so through a handkerchief, sprinkle sulphur in the shoes. If in doubt, don't stir out."

ArapahoeAnnaL Nov 01, 2020

Not for every reader, this historical novel takes place almost entirely in a single, makeshift room in a Dublin hospital in 1918. But for those who will be fascinated by the details of women’s lives, especially labor and delivery, during the Spanish Flu epidemic of the early 1900’s this will be a compelling and moving read.

Oct 21, 2020

Stores empty. Concerts cancelled. Libraries closed. Hospitals full. People recoiling in horror at the sounds of their neighbour's cough... no, it's not Pandemic 2020 but Pandemic 1918 that is the setting of Emma Donahue's latest story. And what a gripping story it is, one of a young nurse left to cope with a small ward of flu-stricken women all on the verge of giving birth. I read it in one sitting, completely engaged and not wanting to leave the world the author creates.

I loved the dark brooding, war-scarred setting of the novel and the intense relationships that develop between its well-drawn characters: nurse Julia, her untutored but clever helper Bridey, the rebel woman-doctor, and the rotating cast of mothers, babies and terrifying Sisters who inhabit the dark world of the maternity ward. Though the book sometimes wears its research a little heavily, it was very interesting to learn about the parallels and differences between pandemics then and now.

Donahue's novels are sometimes a bit hit and miss with me but I highly recommend this one to anyone who loves historical fiction or just a story well-told

Oct 20, 2020

I enjoyed this book. Interesting to me that it was written before the 2020 pandemic was a thing so author wasn't jumping on the covid bandwagon.

Oct 19, 2020

A complete misuse of trees. Don't bother with this unless you like predictable, served up with lots of blood and urine and phlegm.

Oct 06, 2020

I liked this book very much. My heart broke for all the characters, and it was a bit depressing given our own pandemic crisis. I would recommend reading it though as it is a testament of the human need for survival and connection to others. A beautiful story. Room is still my favorite book by Donoghue though.

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ArapahoeAnnaL Nov 10, 2020

When had that spark between us first caught, glowed, begun to singe? I hadn’t noticed; I’d been too busy. With births coming pell-mell after deaths, when would I have had time to wonder at something as unimportant as my own new feelings, much less worry about them?


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