The Pull of the Stars



The Pull of the Stars In Dublin 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 SweeneyIn 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

10 thoughts on “The Pull of the Stars

  1. says:

    Dublin, 1918, the world is being ravaged by the Spanish flu, influenza Men are returning from the war, damaged, changed Julia is an almost thirty, single woman, living with her brother who cannot or will not speak She is also a nurse, which is one of the only decent employment available to women Her hospital is beseiged by flu cases and her ward is one that handles the flu in those that are also pregnant Staff so short, she is alone, in charge, handling what can only be described as our pre Dublin, 1918, the world is being ravaged by the Spanish flu, influenza Men are returning from the war, damaged, changed Julia is an almost thirty, single woman, living with her brother who cannot or will not speak She is also a nurse, which is one of the only decent employment available to women Her hospital is beseiged by flu cases and her ward is one that handles the flu in those that are also pregnant Staff so short, she is alone, in charge, handling what can only be described as our present ICU Supplies snd medicines are scarce Sound familiar Since she is alone, Julia is assigned a young untrained girl to be her runner Bridie lives with the sisters, nuns who have little mercy for orphans or so called fallen women Few available doctor s has the hospital allowing a woman doctor, Kathleen Lynn, who is wanted by the police for taking part in protests Over three days these women will come to mean alot to each other.Medicine was so primitive, there was little that could be done The accuracy in the writing, the details pull one right in and immerses them in this desperate time frame Reminded me of a darker, Call if the Midwives, though these sisters were not the kind ones of Nautilus House Dr Katherine Lynn was a real person, as is detailed in the authors note, as are many of the historical details.A sad time chronicling the terrible times in the past, parallel to the time happening now Our medicines and capabilities are better, but still we are at present held hostage by a virus.ARC from Edelweiss

  2. says:

    5 Stars, one of the best of 2020Talk about timing Emma Donoghue became interested in the Great Influenza in 2018 because of the 100 year anniversary But as she put the final touches on her draft, the corona virus reared its ugly head Emma Donoghue has always been a master at putting us smack dab in a time and place Here, it s Ireland in 1918 WWI is still ongoing and the Influenza has Dublin in its grasp Nurse Julia Powers is acting matron of the Maternity Fever Ward Into her ward comes Br 5 Stars, one of the best of 2020Talk about timing Emma Donoghue became interested in the Great Influenza in 2018 because of the 100 year anniversary But as she put the final touches on her draft, the corona virus reared its ugly head Emma Donoghue has always been a master at putting us smack dab in a time and place Here, it s Ireland in 1918 WWI is still ongoing and the Influenza has Dublin in its grasp Nurse Julia Powers is acting matron of the Maternity Fever Ward Into her ward comes Bridie, with no training whatsoever, and Dr Lynn, a female doctor and Sinn Fein rebel There are similarities to our current epidemic, with overflowing hospitals, supply shortages and the need for masks, but we also get to see what has changed No doctors nowadays prescribing alcohol to pregnant women to give them comfort or linseed poultices to cure a cough And the same lack of understanding about social distancing The queue I passed outside the picture house Grown men, women and children, all gasping to get into the great germ box The writing is so detailed, you will feel you are in the room And the characters come across as fully fleshed This book just drew me in It s not a fast paced story, but I was desperate to know what the outcome would be for them and the patients under their care The story is heartbreaking As with our own crisis, the book points out the incredible strain on the workers tasked with caring for the sick As an interesting side note, Dr Lynn was a real person Make sure to read the Author s Note for her history My thanks to netgalley and Little, Brown for an advance copy of this book

  3. says:

    4.5 stars rounded to 5 starsWhat a quiet yet powerful little gem this is Emma Donoghue escaped my radar up until now The blurb enticed me, and my impulse decision to hit the green Net Galley request button paid off nicely.This is a 3 day slice of life centering on 3 women and several key minor characters The book takes place during the 1918 influenza pandemic Much of the story unfolds in the tiny lyingin ward really a small room for pregnant women ill with the flu in an understaffed hosp 4.5 stars rounded to 5 starsWhat a quiet yet powerful little gem this is Emma Donoghue escaped my radar up until now The blurb enticed me, and my impulse decision to hit the green Net Galley request button paid off nicely.This is a 3 day slice of life centering on 3 women and several key minor characters The book takes place during the 1918 influenza pandemic Much of the story unfolds in the tiny lyingin ward really a small room for pregnant women ill with the flu in an understaffed hospital in Dublin Twenty nine year old Julia Power is an nurse and midwife we are privy to much of what is in her head Her volunteer helper is Bridie, around 22 years old, who is a product of the miserable nun run orphanage in town Dr Kathleen Lynn, a member of a rebel group who is wanted by the police, also plays a key role in the novel Her character is based on a real person of the same name do not fail to read about her in the wonderful Author s Note by Ms Donoghue Each of these women have their issues that play a major role and influence the relationships forged amongst the three Interesting side characters include Julia s brother, rendered mute by his experiences during WWI orderly Groyne doing his best to cope with issues in his own way and, of course, the ill mothers to be Honor White, Delia Garrett, Ita Noonan, and seventeen year old Mary O Rahilly, all with their own burdens to bear This book is not for action fans It is a slow burn, to be sure, yet it somehow drew me in quickly and captivated me for the duration Despite it being character driven and nearly totally confined to one small space, there was a tremendous amount of tension and suspense in that tiny room that shackled me to the pages Oh, and what a learning experience Gosh, I took an OB GYN rotation in medical school, but I was so muchentranced by all the knowledge I gleaned about the state of the art of delivering a baby in the early 20th century in a time of little help and rampant illness Ms Donoghue really did her research The ambiance is well portrayed as the dark and dreary times it was Such hardships, but how strong people were back then to do the very best they could with the situations they found themselves in I particularly loved how people by helping others and sticking together could accomplish a great deal in making the most of their lives This book isn t for everyone, but it was for me I highly recommend it for all who are interested in reading about admirable people doing their best under less than ideal circumstances and taking lessons learned from those who pass through their lives I wish to thank Net Galley, Little Brown and Company, and Miss Emma Donoghue for an advanced copy Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way

  4. says:

    Pain and suffering gather at doorsteps.No particular street No predestined number Certainly, without invitation.Julia Power rides her bicycle through the darkened streets of Dublin in the pouring rain Her destination is the understaffed and over populated hospital reeling from the onslaught of The Great Flu of 1918 The world, and in particular Ireland, takes on an invisible enemy the likes of which they ve never known And in parallel, the human enemies lay in trenches and on battle fields d Pain and suffering gather at doorsteps.No particular street No predestined number Certainly, without invitation.Julia Power rides her bicycle through the darkened streets of Dublin in the pouring rain Her destination is the understaffed and over populated hospital reeling from the onslaught of The Great Flu of 1918 The world, and in particular Ireland, takes on an invisible enemy the likes of which they ve never known And in parallel, the human enemies lay in trenches and on battle fields during World War I Julia s own brother, Tim, has returned from the war altered in every way.But Julia, a trained nurse of nine years specializing in midwifery, trudges up the stairs to come face to face with a daunting reality She will be on call flying solo during her shift today No extra hands to lighten the burden of caring for women in labor harboring the harsh symptoms of the flu Julia survived a case of it a few months back Most doctors have been called to the battlefields with few to take up the gauntlet of fighting this monster pandemic with limited supplies and even less sleep and endurance.Emma Donoghue writes with a sharp ended pen here dipping into the ink of suffering, remorse, helplessness, and endless heels caught on the rim of hopelessness The Pull of the Stars speaks to the reality of the times The birthing is explicit and detailed Panic rises and rises with very little recourse If you are of a gentle persuasion, this book may be a bit of heavy lifting for you But if you lean toward the gallant efforts of humans pushed to the limits, this novel will leave you with a solid respect for those who came before us and for those who still battle the unspeakable every day.Yes, this novel cuts close to the grain as we battle the Covid 19 pandemic Pain and misfortune will never leave this world But it is an eye opener as to how these brave individuals gave their all with such antiquated knowledge and materials The Irish government set out posters advocating eating onions and wearing eucalyptus to fight the grippe And in spite of the odds, so many survived Packed on crowded trams, a bad cough would get the response Sure you might as well spray us with bullets The Pull of the Stars is an exceptional read Brutal, but not without the essentials of compassion and dedication And the profound reality is that humanity rises up, time and time again, for another day.I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review My thanks to Little, Brown and Company and to the talented Emma Donoghue for the opportunity

  5. says:

    Vita gloriosa vita Life glorious lifeThere s an aura throughout this story that is somewhat bleak, while at the same time gripping in the dangers, the then fairly recent uprising that occurred Easter 1916, WWI, the conditions these people face during the 1918 pandemic something that we have all recently become too familiar with There s also so much tender consideration, kindness from this nurse and her young charge that comes to assist the ward where Julia Power works, the MateVita gloriosa vita Life glorious lifeThere s an aura throughout this story that is somewhat bleak, while at the same time gripping in the dangers, the then fairly recent uprising that occurred Easter 1916, WWI, the conditions these people face during the 1918 pandemic something that we have all recently become too familiar with There s also so much tender consideration, kindness from this nurse and her young charge that comes to assist the ward where Julia Power works, the Maternity Fever ward, designated for those women with the flu who are separated from the healthy maternity patients Along with that, some lovely writing, too.Julia is a nurse nearing her 30th birthday, and when she arrives at work that morning she s informed that she will be in charge, for the day, of this newly formed ward, and that the other nurse scheduled is missing in action, with two expectant, as well as sick, mothers in her care one having died during the previous night s shift And while no assistant is promised, one eventually appears, Bridie Sweeney Bridie is a delight, a wonderful addition, both to Julia and to the reader, as she brings much light to this story A young woman who isn t quite sure of her age, having been left in one of the Catholic convents, she s known little of the world, and nothing about love, the only treatment she s had at the hands of the nuns has not been kind Bridie shares her story, little by little with Julia Julia, being a kind hearted woman, cringes a bit at how unflinchingly Bridie shares the trauma she s endured, but opens her heartto her in the process of getting to know her, and begins to look forward to her company This relationship adds so much light that s so needed in such a dark time But, there s so muchto this story than I could tell you in a few short paragraphs So many of the small details of this might seem too conveniently placed the lack of disinfectant, the having to make do with other medical necessities normally available, the signs that seem to echo those of our current times, but Donoghue began writing this story in October of 2018, long before this pandemic we are all living through began So many similarities, the shops closed, companies that appear to be deserted A changed world from the one they knew, all that and in addition, they were still dealing with the repercussions of the war that only ended in November of that year Families with losses from both the war and the pandemic.While I haven t read all of her books, I ve read a few others by her Room, Frog Music, and The Wonder and I have to say that out of all of those, that I think that she s outdone herself with this one, as much as I enjoyed, loved the others There is so much tenderness in the way these characters are shown, and so much compassion in how this story is shared, it served as a lovely reminder that there still is love, tenderness and compassion in this world Pub Date 21 Jul 2020Many thanks for the ARC provided by Little, Brown and Company

  6. says:

    Having read the galley for Emma Donoghue s last novel The Wonder, I put in a request for The Pull of the Stars before even reading the synopsis I was not disappointed.Donoghue revisits some of the same themes in this novel an unmarried female nurse embracing scientific methods, women s lives in a repressive society, what we will do for family and love.Set in 1918 in the middle of the Spanish Flu epidemic, in Dublin maternity ward where an endless round of pregnant women ill with the flu come a Having read the galley for Emma Donoghue s last novel The Wonder, I put in a request for The Pull of the Stars before even reading the synopsis I was not disappointed.Donoghue revisits some of the same themes in this novel an unmarried female nurse embracing scientific methods, women s lives in a repressive society, what we will do for family and love.Set in 1918 in the middle of the Spanish Flu epidemic, in Dublin maternity ward where an endless round of pregnant women ill with the flu come and go, the novel is a spine tingling reminder of our vulnerability.Donoghue began writing The Pull of the Stars in 2018 How chillingly providential that it would be punished the year of the novel cornoavirus covid 19 epidemic.Today as I write this review, violence and protests have been breaking out across America, demanding a just society Donoghue s novel depicts a world crushed by WWI, men broken in body and spirit like ghosts of the people they had once been Unwed mothers are taken in by organizations that demand repayment through a kind of slave labor, their babies becoming trapped in servitude and subject to abuse.The myth of progress is challenged by reminders of how little has changed in 100 years War still crushes, the human body still is attacked by enemies large and small, society remains inequitable, ingrained social prejudices destroy lives.Nurse Julia Powers is dedicated and hard working, although underpaid and lacking authority Readers spent several days with Julia at work, the action taking place in a small hospital room of three hospital cots.This is not a novel for the squeamish So many things go wrong In graphic detail, readers endure the patients suffering, the heroic endeavor to save the lives of mother and babies We meet the female patients, learn about their lives, their illness, their deaths.Every loss is marked by Julia on her silver cased watch, a memorial and reminder to never forget.This is not a novel to escape, the world too closely reflects what we are dealing with with today s pandemic Warnings, fake cures, the uncertainty, government endeavoring to play down the threat nothing has changed.I finished the novel in two days.I received a free egalley from the publisher through NetGalley My review is fair and unbiased

  7. says:

    This is a brilliant, timely and unputdownable novel set during the 1918 flu pandemic in a poor Dublin hospital during the days leading up to the Armistice, Julia is a nurse whose job it is to look after women with the flu who are just about to give birth In case you don t know, the Spanish Flu was most lethal for pregnant women In her tiny ward with just three beds, Julia tries valiantly to save her patients and their babies She s helped by Bridie, a new volunteer, and Dr Kathleen Lynn, a re This is a brilliant, timely and unputdownable novel set during the 1918 flu pandemic in a poor Dublin hospital during the days leading up to the Armistice, Julia is a nurse whose job it is to look after women with the flu who are just about to give birth In case you don t know, the Spanish Flu was most lethal for pregnant women In her tiny ward with just three beds, Julia tries valiantly to save her patients and their babies She s helped by Bridie, a new volunteer, and Dr Kathleen Lynn, a rebel on the run from the police.This is an intense and immersive read, not only because of Donoghue s vividly precise research, characters and story but also because this is oh so relevant to what we re all going through right now with the current pandemic.As I closed this book I swallowed back tears but was also left with a feeling of hope A stunningly good book that should be read by everyone

  8. says:

    Emma Donoghue s The Pull of the Stars is one of those books that snuck up on me Until about 20% of the way in I was thinking, This is good Not great, but good enough Then, just a few pages beyond that point the book grabbed me and didn t let go I read And read and read and read I read much later into the night than I should have, but I finally started to drop off so I got up early the next morning to finish the book before I did anything else.The three central female characters in The Pu Emma Donoghue s The Pull of the Stars is one of those books that snuck up on me Until about 20% of the way in I was thinking, This is good Not great, but good enough Then, just a few pages beyond that point the book grabbed me and didn t let go I read And read and read and read I read much later into the night than I should have, but I finally started to drop off so I got up early the next morning to finish the book before I did anything else.The three central female characters in The Pull of the Stars are each compelling in her own way, and sharing their growing closeness gave me a fierce sense of loyalty to them The mothers on the influenza ward are also an interesting mix of ages and attitudes Many of the characters beyond these are rather two dimensional, but the core trio easily carry the narrative.We are living now in our own pandemic, though one not yet as destructive as the 1918 influenza, and The Pull of the Stars gives us an interesting perspective through which to view our own time Yes, things could definitely be worse Yes, people clutch at all sort of straws as they convince themselves they won t fall ill or desperately try questionable cures Read The Pull of the Stars for its own sake and to come to a richer understanding of the present day.I received a free electronic review copy of this book from the publisher The opinions are my own

  9. says:

    It s 1918, and Julia is a nurse in Dublin She lives with her brother Tim, a war veteran who has returned a very different man The Great War is raging, and the flu pandemic is overloading the medical staff Her ward is maternity patients who also have flu symptoms, and they are so short staffed that she finds herself the only one on duty When she asks for help, Bridie appears, a volunteer who by all appearances is poor and uneducated Bridie turns out to be a godsend, helpful and eager to lear It s 1918, and Julia is a nurse in Dublin She lives with her brother Tim, a war veteran who has returned a very different man The Great War is raging, and the flu pandemic is overloading the medical staff Her ward is maternity patients who also have flu symptoms, and they are so short staffed that she finds herself the only one on duty When she asks for help, Bridie appears, a volunteer who by all appearances is poor and uneducated Bridie turns out to be a godsend, helpful and eager to learn It becomes clear that this is not an easy time, what with the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church, and the treatment of women, but Emma Donoghue has created a strong and compassionate character Julia Donoghue is one of my favorite writers, but this timely novel should appeal to both readers of historical fiction and fans of the PBS series Call the Midwife Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for this ARC

  10. says:

    That s what influenza means influenza delle stelle the influence of the stars Medieval Italians thought the illness proved the sky must be governing their fates, that they were quite literally star crossed I pictured that the heavenly bodies trying to fly us like upsidedown kites Or perhaps just yanking on us for their obscure amusement.I ve read a few books lately that feature characters based on real people and that always adds to my enjoyment, researching their lives, putting them into That s what influenza means influenza delle stelle the influence of the stars Medieval Italians thought the illness proved the sky must be governing their fates, that they were quite literally star crossed I pictured that the heavenly bodies trying to fly us like upsidedown kites Or perhaps just yanking on us for their obscure amusement.I ve read a few books lately that feature characters based on real people and that always adds to my enjoyment, researching their lives, putting them into context in history In this case, Doctor Kathleen Lynn was a fascinating person and I liked her inclusion in this story A timely story, too, set in Ireland in the throes of the 1918 flu epidemic, over just three days in a maternity ward for expectant mothers who have the virus Some graphic scenes of childbirth going well and going badly Heart breaking back stories for some of the patients highlight how far we have moved on since those days Great writing, as you d expect from Emma Donoghue Not for the queasy reader, I d recommend it for its social relevance rather than any plot or character development I pictured trams grinding their lines across Dublin like blood through veins We all live in an unwalled city, that was it Lines scored right through Ireland carved all over the world Train tracks, roads, shipping channels, a web that connected all nations into one great suffering body.With thanks to Pan Macmillan, Picador via NetGalley for the opportunity to read an ARC

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