The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is one of those times where I wish that I could give half stars, because this is really 3.5 stars, not just 3.
This book was interesting. I started off not quite sure what to think of it - I didn't particularly like the main character all that much, and only the author made me think that there might be something else that I could expect from the book itself.
I think that curiosity over where the book was going to lead was what kept me reading - that and the nature of the writing, the descriptive nature that drew me in and made me imagine the characters and their approach to life. Emily probably referred to it best when she talked about the atmosphere, because it's really something that you can feel in this book.
The story is that of Libby, a rather uptight nurse who arrives in rural Ireland to find herself unexpectedly tasked with finding out the truth about a young girl, Anna. The fact that Libby hadn't expected to be doing this just adds to her prickliness as she settles into her role and decides that since she's there, this is a mystery she'll get to the bottom of.
Recently I've been doing some reading up on history, so that made it fascinating to see the clashes that happen along the way as no-nonsense, English Libby comes up against the rural, incredibly religious Irish that she has to work alongside during the course of this story. Religion definitely plays a part in this book, though not suffocatingly so for anyone concerned about it - the book is steeped in it in much the same way the people of the book are stepped in it, and it works.
Overall, this was a compelling read, one that I think I'll find myself thinking of from time to time afterwards as I'm not sure I've read anything quite like it.
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