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The Pull of the Stars

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really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  39,089 ratings  ·  5,954 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 Sweene ...more
Hardcover, 295 pages
Published July 21st 2020 by Little, Brown and Company
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Stefanie The lack of quotation marks was distracting to me at first and almost made me abandon the book a few pages in. I'm glad I didn't. I quickly got used t…moreThe lack of quotation marks was distracting to me at first and almost made me abandon the book a few pages in. I'm glad I didn't. I quickly got used to it and, for the most part, didn't notice them missing once I got going. The book is told from a very intimate first-person point of view and the lack of quotation marks actually helps you feel even more like you're in Nurse Julia's head. Looking back, after having finished the book, I think that adding quotation marks back in would slow the pace of the book down. Kind of like their "added bulk" would be a physical, inky barrier that would slow you down. As it is written, you zoom alongside Julia's thoughts and emotions.(less)
Meredith Whitford A very short romantic/loving interlude (no sex, just kissing and fondness) between two women, right at the end of the book. At first I wondered if it …moreA very short romantic/loving interlude (no sex, just kissing and fondness) between two women, right at the end of the book. At first I wondered if it was necessary, then it broke my heart.(less)

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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Emily May
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, arc, historical
Here we are in the golden age of medicine— making such great strides against rabies, typhoid fever, diphtheria— and a common or garden influenza is beating us hollow.

Serious question: were there always this many books about pandemics? Is this like one of those things where you learn about something you'd never heard of before and then, suddenly, it's EVERYWHERE. Because I keep reading these books that were written pre-COVID and pandemics seem to be stalking me.

Anyway, I really liked this und
...more
Liz
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5 Stars, one of the best of 2020
Talk 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
...more
Diane S ☔
May 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
jessica
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
‘blame the stars… thats what influenza means. influenza delle stelle - the influence of the stars. medieval italians thought the illness proved that the heavens were governing their fates.’

not gonna lie - this started out rough for me. the narrative style is… a choice. lol. i was actually quite adverse to it in the beginning. but ive really enjoyed EDs other books, so i stuck with it and im so glad i did.

and i wouldnt consider this the most recommendable story out there - its a very niche t
...more
Miranda Reads
description

Just released my Worst 2020 Books Video - now that you know this one made the list, click the link to find the rest!
The Written Review
description
Nurse Julia works tirelessly in the maternity ward as the plague and the war ravages through Ireland.

As the night wears on, she's joined by a suspicious new doctor (a rumored rebel) and Birdie (a volunteer).

Together they fight save as many lives as humanly possible.

Soooooo....it may just be me but I did NOT enjoy this one at all.

I'm not big on historical
...more
Christine
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars rounded to 5 stars

What 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
...more
Linda
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
...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
All the stars!

I finished The Pull of the Stars over last weekend, a buddy read with my dear friend, @bibliobeth. We gobbled this book up. At 304 pages, and taking place over only 3 days, this book is something, and I mean something remarkable. The Pull of the Stars makes my second book I’ve read about the 1918 influenza pandemic in the last month.

On a related note, Emma Donoghue began writing the book in 2018 for the 100 year anniversary of the pandemic. Little did she know that the coronavirus
...more
Beata
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A compelling offering by Ms Donoghue which, read in the times of COVID, could not escape comparison between the present and 1918.
Nurse Julia Power is in charge of the maternity ward in a Dublin hospital. Thirty, taking care of her brother who suffers from shell-shock, Julia concentrates on her three charges, pregnant women who are of different background and whose pregnancies are endangered due to flu complications.
The plot spans over three days during which Julia helps new life to appear and wi
...more
Dem
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
This one read a little like “ A complete idiots guide to giving birth” in a pandemic in 1918 .

I really wasn’t going to read this novel as being centre stage in a pandemic is enough without having to read about it in my leisure time. I took a chance as I loved The Wonder The Wonder by Emma Donoghue by this author. The book is historically accurate and interesting it was way too medically detailed for me. The story takes place over 3 days and most of the drama is played out in a maternity Ward in the hospital.

The med
...more
MarilynW
Mar 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue (author), Emma Lowe (narrator)

It's 1918 Dublin, the city and the country ravaged by war, poverty, and the Great Flu. Very few people aren't suffering from the flu or the after effects of the flu and Nurse Julia Power's inner city hospital is running on a skeleton crew, with not enough workers or supplies. A tiny room has been set aside for expectant mothers that are suffering from the flu, and for the first time, Nurse Julie is in charge of a "ward". The ti
...more
Cheri

Vita gloriosa vita. Life glorious life.


There’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 Mate
...more
Debra
Jul 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
"The human race settles on terms with every plague in the end, the doctor told her. Or a stalemate, at the least."

Talk about a timely book. In the Author's note, Emma Donoghue shares how she began writing this book after being inspired by the centenary of the great flu, and by the time she had delivered her last draft to publishers in March 2020, COVID 19 came on the scene.
"**The influenza pandemic of 1918 killed more people than the first World War - an estimated 3 to 6 percent of the human
...more
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
4.5 stars! Another fantastic novel by a favourite author of mine.

Relevant and timely. Eye-opening and informative. Outstanding and unforgettable characters!

Dublin, 1918: Julia Power celebrates her thirtieth birthday while working as a nurse in the maternity unit of a hospital overloaded with patients battling a new and deadly strain of influenza. Expectant mother’s who show signs of the Great flu are transferred to Julia’s charge. Her makeshift ward is an old supply closet that fits three beds w
...more
Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
The timing on this one is perfect, and surprising when you think about how Emma Donoghue starting writing the story in 2018, and it is so relevant today. It's startling when you think about how history can repeat itself and leaves you to consider how we can learn from history. The one thing that might not change is the astonishing heroes in times of crisis. The ones of yesterday and we see today! It's stories like this that focus on the remarkable, selfless heroes that rise above all the ugly, p ...more
Elyse  Walters
Wow...
This story felt so short!

The history, ( inspired by the Spanish flu), and story ( not for the squeamish),
in “The Pull of the Stars”, is certainly relevant to our current pandemic health crisis today.....

....The writing was compelling
with spare yet vividly descriptive prose.

...Parts were slow -

...Parts were disturbing and graphic -

...The eerie environment descriptions were strong.

...It was haunting and easily imagined.

...Not my favorite book of the year - but it had redeeming qualitie
...more
Jen
Oct 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ireland
4.5 ✭
3 days.
That’s all it takes to change lives drastically during the 1918 flu pandemic for a nurse, a runner, and a doctor in a maternity ward in Dublin.
Julia Power, a passionate nurse trying to help her patients with her hands tied by not being a practitioner but knowing as much as one; Bridie, the charming girl who has come in as a volunteer runner completely taken off guard by the devastation of the illness; Dr. Lynn. A rebel doctor on the run from the police.

This is the story of frontline
...more
JanB

“This flu was clogging the whole works of the hospital. Not just the hospital, I reminded myself—the whole of Dublin. The whole country. As far as I could tell, the whole world was a machine grinding to a halt. Across the globe, in hundreds of languages, signs were going up urging people to cover their coughs.”

It's 1918 and the flu pandemic is raging across the globe. Nurse Julia, along with her aide, Bridie, is in charge of a small hospital ward, a supply closet really, for pregnant women suff
...more
Carol
"Cover up each cough or sneeze......fools and traitors spread disease."

October 31, 1918. Dublin, Ireland - A war - A pandemic - A hospital maternity/fever ward - A skilled midwife/nurse Julia Power - An able bodied helper/runner Bridie Sweeney - And Dr. Kathleen Lynn, rebel doctor and 'real life' character.

The story takes place in three very long exhausting days for a nurse, her helper and a doctor on the run. And everyone is overworked including an annoying singing orderly...that you may just c

...more
Karen
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
During the 1918 flu epidemic in a Dublin hospital..
30 yr old maternity nurse Julia Power is trying to save the lives of the pregnant women who are at great risk when they come in with flu symptoms.
She has to care for them in a converted supply room that is just big enough for three cots because the hospital is overrun with patients.
Equipment and personnel are scarce and the world war has taken many doctors to the front.
An aide named Bridie is sent to help Julia, she’s a young uneducated girl
...more
Mackenzi
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Was not prepared to be emotionally ravaged by this book. Gonna go cry now. Very not okay.
sarah
"Cover up each cough or sneeze... fools and traitors spread disease."

The Pull of the Stars is Emma Donoghue's newest release, eerily relevant to today. We follow Nurse Julia Powers in the midst of the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 Ireland. She works at an overcapacity hospital in the maternity ward, and we see her both bring life into the world and struggle against the pull of the stars- the merciless influenza. Critically understaffed, Julia takes upon an uneducated volunteer, Bridie Sweeny
...more
Nilufer Ozmekik
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dublin, 1918, during the Great Flu Influenza, three different women’s lives connected in strange way to help the pregnant women who are effected by flu to give birth to their children.

We’re witnessing and hardly absorbing their dark, intense, claustrophobic, heart wrenching story takes place in lying ward- extremely small room- for 3 days. Just like the author’s previous work “Room”, these women are captivated, being scared of outside because the flu is getting more contagious at each moment, t
...more
Matthew
4 to 4.5 Stars

An enthralling but difficult book to read. I could list the trigger warnings, but let's just say if anything you can imagine being difficult or going wrong in child birth triggers you, stay far, far away! It is not inappropriate in any way, just very shocking, graphic, heart-wrenching, and real. I was kind of exhausted when I was finished.

This book takes place during the 1918 flu pandemic in Ireland. The setting is a maternity ward full of patients suffering to from the flu. Medici
...more
Debbie
Stare lovingly at its spine, or call the shrink for meds?

I want to hug this book, and I want to buy a copy so I can stare at its spine and go all ga-ga. I also want to high-tail it to the shrink’s office and demand meds because the book depressed me so much. Let me explain.

When the book ended, there was this expansive, almost giddy, feeling I get whenever I finish reading a masterpiece. It was thrilling, intense, epic, vivid, and rich, and it had complex, amazing characters. I could go on and on
...more
Maxwell
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ireland
Emma Donoghue has yet to disappoint! This is my third time reading one of her novels and each one has been excellent in its own right.

If you've heard anything about this book, it's probably about timeliness. Donoghue started researching the 1918 flu pandemic back around its centennial. Of course she never could have known how relevant the subject matter would be today, but that coincidence only colors this story with more character.

In her historical imagining of the influenza outbreak, we follo
...more
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
Popping in here with my most common note on reviews: THIS BOOK HAS QUEER REP! Sexuality isn't a spoiler. In fact, it's almost the only way to market a book to me at this point. ...more
AnnaLuce
“We all lived in an unwalled city, that was it. I saw lines scored across the map of Ireland; carved all over the globe. Train tracks, roads, shipping channels, a web of human traffic that connected all all nations into one great suffer body.”


This is the third novel I've read by Emma Donoghue and I'm afraid to say that it just didn't quite work for me. Maybe I shouldn't have approached The Pull of the Stars with such high expectations. Or maybe these kind of historical novels are just not my 't
...more
Jenna
It says a LOT that one of the only times I’ve managed to achieve “flow” during *THIS* pandemic is when I was reading this book about *A* pandemic!

That is to say, rather than wading through duties while still fretting about or being distracted by the current pandemic on some background noise level, I was able to fully focus for a sustained period on a task at hand, which just happened to be - reading about a historical pandemic!

Well... I don’t quite get it myself, but I’m certainly not going to
...more
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
Looking for a book to read about the a well known pandemic that killed millions globally, and hearing good things about The Pull of the Stars, Jan and I decided to read this story of a fictitious understaffed and overwhelmed hospital in Ireland, and its staff focusing on those in the maternity section infected with the flu.

I will admit that I was one of those few outliers who didn't like Emma Donahue's book Room. There were multiple reasons, so I was a bit reticent about picking up this new boo
...more
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9,935 followers
Grew up in Ireland, 20s in England doing a PhD in eighteenth-century literature, since then in Canada. Best known for my novel, film and play ROOM, also other contemporary and historical novels and short stories, non-fiction, theatre and middle-grade novels.

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“She murmured, We could always blame the stars. I beg your pardon, Doctor? That's what influenza means, she said. Influenza delle stelle—the influence of the stars. Medieval Italians thought the illness proved that the heavens were governing their fates, that people were quite literally star-crossed. I pictured that, the celestial bodies trying to fly us like upsidedown kites. Or perhaps just yanking on us for their obscure amusement.” 8 likes
“The human race settles on terms with every plague in the end, the doctor told her. Or a stalemate, at the least. We somehow muddle along, sharing the earth with each new form of life.” 6 likes
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