Review: The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

This book did not fit any of my challenge criteria.


An eleven-year-old girl stops eating, but remains miraculously alive and well. A nurse, sent to investigate whether she is a fraud, meets a journalist hungry for a story.

Set in the Irish Midlands in the 1850s, The Wonder – inspired by numerous European and North American cases of ‘fasting girls’ between the 16th and 20th centuries – is a psychological thriller about a child’s murder threatening to happen in slow motion before our eyes. Pitting all the seductions of fundamentalism against sense and love, it is a searing examination of what nourishes us, body and soul.

What I liked:

 This book really stayed true to the time in which it was set. Ireland was a staunchly Catholic country in the 1850s a and stopping the daily tasks for the Angelus was common. It was written perfectly from that point.

The characters were fantastic as well. You could really tell how much Rosaleen doted on her daughter, how snide and hoity Dr Standish was. Lib though was my favourite. She really procedures you can be book smart, but maybe not street smart.

What I didn’t like:

The plot is a bit of a slow burner. It did take a while for me to get into the swing of this book, but that may be down to my going through a massive book slump at the time I started reading.

While it did keep with the time, the sheer volume of prayers in the book was a bit overkill. It often felt less like I was reading a novel and more like I was reading my first class religion textbook.

Out of five:

 Four. A really well written book, that kept fantastically with its setting.


3 thoughts on “Review: The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

  1. Great review! I’ve had my eye on this for a while now and absolutely adored Room. However, the use of prayers and religion references will probably make my experience of reading slightly less enjoyable – I felt exactly the same about A Song For Issy Bradley

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