The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Set in the Irish Midlands in 1859, The Wonder is the story of Anna O’Donnell an eleven-year-old girl whose parents have the town convinced that she is surviving on “manna from heaven” as her only sustenance.  Lib Wright, an English nurse, with no great love for the Irish, is summoned the tiny village to debunk or seal the idea that the girl has been able to survive without food for months. Threaded throughout the story are fleeting allusions to the famine and the effect it has had on the young girls family.

Religious zealots travel for miles to witness the girl and ask for blessings, all the while Lib is standing by, first unenamored by her charge and then worried for her health and future as she forms a bond with her.

Added into the story is a journalist who arrives to cover the sensation and serve as Lib’s love interest. A combination of a psychological thriller, love story and brief sketch of the trials of the Irish post-famine, The Wonder makes a light, quick read for the summer and that’s it.

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