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The Pull of the Stars - Emma Donoghue

The Pull of the Stars

By Emma Donoghue

  • Release Date: 2020-07-21
  • Genre: Historical
Score: 4
From 247 Ratings


In Dublin, 1918, a maternity ward at the height of the Great Flu is a small world of work, risk, death, and unlooked-for love, in "Donoghue's best novel since Room" (Kirkus Reviews)

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 come down with the terrible new Flu are quarantined together. Into Julia's regimented world step two outsiders -- Doctor Kathleen Lynn, a rumoured Rebel on the run from the police , and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.

In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over three days, these women change each other's lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work.

In The Pull of the Stars, Emma Donoghue once again finds the light in the darkness in this new classic of hope and survival against all odds.


  • Timely, realistic, heart rending and TRIUMPHANT

    By Mimi M. 56
    This one will stay with me forever!
  • Amazing story of the 1918 influenza pandemic

    By kaykaybean13
    Narrated by the protagonist, Julia, a nurse in the maternity ward during the 1918 influenza plague. From her perspectives we see first hand the misogynistic truths that prevailed in Dublin, the narrow minded and political unrest the country was experiencing, the harrowing abuse of the poverty stricken class and the bigotry from society. The story is dominated by a handful of pregnant women stricken with this deadly strain of influenza, the nurse Julia, the nun And Sisters in charge of the wards of the state, a female doctor, which is a rarity but sweet relief for Julia and most other female staffers by the name of Dr. Lynn who was on the lam from the law for protesting violently against citizens in a protests rebellion that killed more than 500 innocent people in the name of better treatment for the poor- she and her friend, though thinly veiled as her lesbian lover opened a hospital and refuge ward and recovery hone for the poor and impoverished mothers and their newborns, women and their illegitimate children and a recovery place after birth for them to get nourishment and rest and assistance and shelter if they were unwed. Julia learns from a volunteer Bridie, sent in by the nun when she was short staffed that the mothers who are unwed are forced to live in these institutions and give their help and work taking care of I adopted babies to pay for their hospital bills and stay at the shelter they are basically slaves held against their will, their wages when working outside the home are kept and they’re starved, beaten used for sex by society on “holiday men weekends” and horrific tales that makes her perspectives about the poor, Dr Lynn and the uprising shift drAmatically and about her own governments lies, propaganda and wickedness
  • Quick & entertaining read

    By Fresno Mary
    This story moves quickly, the characters are well written, and interesting & likable. I wish the ending was longer. It seems like it ended in a hurry but I guess they were in a rush to publish it during the pandemic. I would have liked an extra chapter or two to finish it up a bit, but all in all a good read.